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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Next big challenge before the advocates of homeless veterinarians: Inflation

With coronavirus pandemic restrictions lifted in most of the US, federal officials and housing advocates are hoping their efforts could lead to a significant drop in the number of veterans experiencing homelessness in the coming months.

But they are wary of the next challenge facing the already vulnerable giants: inflation.

“A lot of people right now are wondering how high prices are going to affect their customers and what services or resources they’ll need to bring in to bridge this gap,” said Catherine Monet, chief executive officer of the National Coalition. For homeless veterans.

“There are people out there who are already making tough choices. Do I pay for medicine or gas? Do I buy school supplies or pay for utilities? We’re in trouble.”

Several hundred advocates are gathering in Washington, DC this week to discuss those problems and possible solutions as part of the NCHV’s annual convention. This year’s event, which runs through Friday, marks the first time in three years for the group in-person gathering since the pandemic returned to normal operations in communities across the country.

Attendees noted that unlike other jobs that may have moved operations to remote locations over the past two years, most of the outreach work done to help veterans experiencing homelessness still needs to be done in person. Were.

This means longer hours and additional stress for the community of helpers.

“We had to learn how to multitask even more than we did before,” said Wendy McClinton, president of Black Veterans for Social Justice, a nonprofit that offers a variety of housing assistance programs. And we had to protect our employees, protect our customers, protect their families, and that sometimes meant using resources we didn’t even know we had before.”

The Labor Department Has Recently Given The Elderly
The Labor Department recently announced a $57 million grant to community groups to help the elderly find “meaningful employment.”
Photo by Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Now, advocates are taking those lessons learned and working them into ongoing tasks.

In some cases, this means continuing to provide services to customers over the phone or the Internet in person because it provides faster results. In others, it means providing more single-occupancy options to veterans looking for housing, giving them more freedom and investment in their situation.

Federal agencies have also made changes to their support services.

On Wednesday, James Rodriguez, assistant secretary of the Veterans Employment and Training Service at the Department of Labor, announced a $57 million grant to community groups to help homeless veterans find “meaningful employment.”

A little later, Adrian Todman, Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, announced a target of 200,000 new housing vouchers this year to place veterans in stable housing (about 106,000 are currently in use).

Due to new resources, with advocates “returning” to pre-pandemic operations, officials said they see an opportunity in the coming year to build on previous efforts to reduce the number of veterans without stable housing.

From 2010 to 2016, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness nearly halved—from about 74,000 to 39,500—thanks to a dramatic increase in federal and state funding of programs to tackle the problem.

Since then, however, the number has remained largely stable. In 2020 — a full time-out calculated by federal officials last year, the estimated number of veterans experiencing homelessness was about 37,200, a decrease of about 6%.

Officials see a 10% drop in the number of veterans using emergency shelter services from 2020 to 2021, but it’s not clear whether this is because of concerns about improving their housing conditions or using public facilities amid the coronavirus outbreak. How much is

It’s also unclear whether rising inflation can wipe out any of those past gains.

Monet said rising rents are the most immediate threat to advocates trying to get or place veterans in reliable housing. But increased costs for groceries, gas and other services all play a major role in the giant’s finances, too.

She said those concerns limited her optimism about how fast progress could be made on the issue of homelessness.

“We know the housing market is crazy now,” she said. “So we’re just spilling water. And that’s unfortunate, because we have these big bold goals from the federal government and we’re all working hard to encourage and encourage all of our partners.

By bringing advocates back to the room together this week, NCHV officials hope they can plan ways around those hurdles and create new momentum.

They also hope that the return of the conference can help foster new connections among all groups involved, especially since they now greet those participants not with a computer-screen wave but with a real-life handshake. can give.

World Nation News Desk
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