In 2012, the VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimated that the number of homeless veterans nationwide to be approximately 62,619. At that time, approximately 25% of homeless veterans were located in California: the highest percentage of any other state. In the last several years, the homeless veteran population in California has been nearly cut in half, but there is still work to be done.
Veterans often suffer from conditions that make it difficult to find and maintain gainful employment and pay for housing. Along with the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), the VA has found that approximately 55% of homeless veterans suffer from mental health issues, 70% are affected by substance abuse issues, and 40% of female homeless veterans report experience severe forms of mental illness, mostly due to higher rates of military sexual trauma (MST).
CalVet is addressing veteran homelessness by working with various government and non-government agencies and organizations, throughout California, to provide advocacy and services needed by the homeless population and those dealing with the threat of becoming homeless. To find housing assistance programs available in the area, call (800) 952-5626 or (800) 221-8998 (outside California).
The HUD-VASH program provides long-term case management, supportive services, and permanent housing support. The SSVF program provides funding for organizations that provide eligible
veteran families with outreach, financial assistance, case management and assistance in obtaining VA
and other benefits.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has also founded a National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, to ensure homeless veterans or veterans at-risk for homelessness have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors. To be connected with a trained VA staff member, please call (877) 4AID VET (877-424-3838).
The core mission of HCHV is primarily to perform outreach, provided by VA social workers and other mental health clinicians, to identify homeless veterans who are eligible for VA services and assist these veterans in accessing appropriate healthcare and benefits. In addition to its initial core mission, HCHV also functions as a mechanism to contract with providers for community-based residential treatment for homeless veterans. For more information, please visit http://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/HCHV.asp.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocates HUD homeless assistance grants to organizations that participate in local homeless assistance program planning networks. Each of these networks is called a Continuum of Care (CoC). CoC committees at the city, county and state level coordinate their efforts to identify the needs of local homeless populations, the resources that are currently available in the community to address those needs, and additional resources needed to fill identified gaps. The CoC process is a community-based approach that encourages the creation of collaborative and comprehensive systems to meet the diverse of needs of local homeless populations.
Stand Downs are typically one- to three-day events organized by community-based veterans' services organizations, non-profit organizations, and veterans service organizations with cooperation from a variety of state, federal, and private agencies. Stand Downs provide vital services for veterans, such as: food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services like housing, employment, and substance abuse treatment. In addition, veterans have access to Homeless Courts where they are able to resolve minor violations and warrants.
Also see our Housing and Supportive Services page.
Call Centers for Homeless Veterans
Trained call center counselors are available 24/7 to offer homeless veterans and veterans at risk of becoming homeless free referrals to local homeless shelters.
National Resource Directory provides access to services and resources at the national, state and local levels that support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration. Wounded warriors, service members, veterans, or family members may go to www.nrd.gov to connect with a caregiver who supports the local area.
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