16 Apr COVID-19 Will Worsen The Housing Crisis For Veterans
Amidst the national health crisis, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is still expected to provide the data from its annual PIT (Point-in-Time Homeless Persons) Count this April. The PIT process offers an approximation of the homeless population in the nation by surveying sheltered and unsheltered individuals on a single night. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) relies heavily on the PIT count to decide strategies for combating chronic homelessness among military veterans.
In 2019, HUD listed a 2.1 percent decrease in the estimated number of homeless veterans nationwide, down from a 5.4 percent decrease in 2018. It is worth mentioning that veteran homelessness has reduced almost 50 percent since 2010, however, even now, more than 37,000 veterans still experienced homelessness in January. Given the worsening situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot expect the 2020 count to show a considerable decrease in the homeless vet population.
We are looking at a higher count for 2020.
Once this epidemic is over, the VA needs to come up with a better strategy.
A lot many veterans will be swept away due to this pandemic, and a more significant number will turn unemployed. Unemployment will further lead to financial trouble and ultimately being homeless.
There is no denying that the VA is persistent in its efforts. It has taken decent steps to combat homelessness among veterans in the past. VA loan program also offers zero down mortgage facilities to qualifying veterans. However, the current crisis demands a fresh outlook towards problems. If the VA fails to devise a winning strategy, all the work done in the past can go down the drain.
Increased homelessness among veterans is a definite possibility once the pandemic has been dealt with. The VA must come up with a new approach to deal with this issue.