Ending Unsheltered Homelessness Among Veterans is Within Reach in California
2022 Homeless Count Reveals a Goal of Ending
Unsheltered Homelessness Among Veterans is Within
Reach for Many of California’s 44 Continuums of Care
Northern California, Central California, and Southern California CoCs
Collectively Counted Less Veterans as Unsheltered in their Regions during their
2022 Homeless Count when Compared to their 2020 Count as Noted in the Tables Below
As visualized in the map below, during the 2022 unsheltered point-in-time count:
- 21 of 44 CoCs or nearly half (48%) counted less than 100 unsheltered veterans
- 17 CoCs or 39% counted less than 50 unsheltered veterans
- 4 CoCs or 9% counted between 50 and 100 unsheltered veterans; and
- 12 of the 44 CoCs or 27% counted between 100 and 200 unsheltered veterans.
Of the remaining 11 CoCs,
- 3 CoCs or 7% counted between 200 and 300 unsheltered veterans;
- 3 CoCs or 5% counted between 300 and 500 unsheltered veterans;
- 4 CoCs or 11% counted between 500 and 700 unsheltered veterans; and
- 1 CoC or 2% counted more than 700 unsheltered veterans.
Click here for a pdf copy of the map below.
Tables 1 – 4
The tables at the end of this report reveal that the number of veterans counted as unsheltered during the 2022 homeless count decreased for the entire state and within each of the largest regions—Northern California, Central California, and Southern California—when compared to the number of veterans counted as unsheltered in 2020.
- Table 1 reveals that the number of veterans counted as unsheltered in the entire state in 2020 was 11,401 and 10,395 in 2022 representing a decrease of 1,006 unsheltered veterans or 8.8%. The table also compares all 44 CoCs and notes whether each one had an increase or decrease.
- Table 2 reveals that the number of veterans counted as unsheltered in Northern California in 2020 was 4,060 and 3,895 in 2022 representing a decrease of 165 unsheltered veterans or 4.1%. The table also compares all 23 Northern California CoCs and notes whether each one had an increase or decrease.
Table 2 also lists the following four Northern California CoCs with the most unsheltered veterans in 2022 that collectively counted 2,440 of the 3,895 unsheltered veterans counted that year, which represents nearly two-thirds (62.4%) of all the unsheltered veterans counted by the 23 Northern California CoCs:
- San Jose/Santa Clara City & County CoC (660 unsheltered veterans);
- Sacramento City & County CoC (625 unsheltered veterans);
- San Francisco CoC (605 unsheltered veterans); and
- Oakland, Berkeley/Alameda County CoC (550 unsheltered veterans).
- Table 3 reveals that the number of veterans counted as unsheltered in Central California in 2020 was 998 and 753 in 2022 representing a decrease of 245 unsheltered veterans or 24.5%. The table also compares all 8 Central California CoCs and notes whether each one had an increase or decrease.
Table 3 also lists the following two Central California CoCs with the most unsheltered veterans in 2022 that collectively counted 365 of the 753 unsheltered veterans counted that year, which represents nearly one-half (48.5%) of all the unsheltered veterans counted by the eight Central California CoCs:
- Fresno City & County/Madera County CoC (205 unsheltered veterans); and
- Salinas/Monterey, San Benito Counties CoC (160 unsheltered veterans).
- Table 4 reveals that the number of veterans counted as unsheltered in Southern California in 2020 was 6,343 and 5,747 in 2022 representing a decrease of 596 unsheltered veterans or 9.4%. The table also compares all 13 Southern California CoCs and notes whether each one had an increase or decrease.
Table 4 also lists the following three Southern California CoCs with the most unsheltered veterans in 2022 that collectively counted 4,285 of the 5,439 unsheltered veterans counted that year, which represents 79% of all the unsheltered veterans counted by the 13 Southern California CoCs:
- Los Angeles City & County CoC (3,456 unsheltered veterans);
- Long Beach CoC (451 unsheltered veterans); and
- San Diego City and County CoC (378 unsheltered veterans).
The 3,456 unsheltered veterans counted by the Los Angeles City & County CoC represents approximately two-thirds (63.5%) of the 5,439 unsheltered veterans counted.
Recommendations for Next Steps
- Engage leaders from federal, state, county, city agencies and community organizations including businesses, educational institutions, faith-based alliances, health and mental health care providers, non-profit entities, and philanthropic foundations in renewed local commitments to end unsheltered homelessness among veterans.
- Advance the local strategy for cross agency implementation of evidence-based, best, promising, and emerging practices to engage veterans living unsheltered alone or in encampments with others.
- Provide technical assistance and training to ensure that existing housing and supportive services for unsheltered veterans are being leveraged together in a coordinated and strategic fashion to maximize the resources to implement the local strategic practices for obtaining and maintaining permanent housing.
- Plan and implement a media campaign to educate the public about evidence-based, best, promising, and emerging practices to engage veterans living unsheltered.
- Plan and implement a messaging campaign that challenges public narratives that stigmatize, blame, and dehumanize veterans experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
- Involve veterans with lived unsheltered experience in the planning and implementation of every next step of a renewed local commitment.
- Strengthen existing and identify new ways to formally share and use data across all partner agencies while protecting privacy and confidentiality.
- Understand how data is currently being used and provide guidance and messaging about how data can be and is being used to inform local decision-making and actions.
- Establish a local dashboard to track and report relevant data and results to continue to help reinforce or renovate actions taken to implement promising and emerging practices.
- Make information about successful results available and accessible to public and private funding sources to ensure such successes are scaled to end unsheltered homelessness among veterans and build systems that support long-term, lasting solutions that can effectively and efficiently respond to future needs to prevent unsheltered homelessness.
Also, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced its 2023 goals for preventing and ending Veteran homelessness. Specifically, in 2023, VA will:
- Place at least 38,000 Veterans experiencing homelessness into permanent housing.
- Ensure that at least 95% of the Veterans housed in 2023 do not return to homelessness during the year. And of those who return to homelessness, VA will ensure that at least 90% are rehoused or on a path to rehousing by the end of 2023.
- Engage with at least 28,000 unsheltered Veterans to help them obtain housing and other wraparound services. This goal represents a more than 10% increase in the number of unsheltered Veterans reached during 2022.
States with the highest rates of unsheltered homelessness among Veterans were Mississippi, California, Washington, Georgia, and Hawaii.
In addition, the recently unveiled 2024 budget proposal by the President notes the following on page 116:
Bolsters Efforts to End Veteran Homelessness. The Budget invests $3.1 billion for veterans’ homelessness programs, with the goal of ensuring every veteran has permanent, sustainable housing with access to healthcare and other supportive services to end current veteran homelessness and prevent veterans from becoming homeless in the future. In addition, the Budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development provides $13 billion in mandatory funding to incrementally expand the Housing Choice Voucher program for 450,000 extremely low-income veteran families, paving a path to guaranteed assistance for all who have served the Nation and are in need.
Recent publications that promote these actions include:
- Criteria_and_Benchmarks_for_Ending_Veteran_Homelessness_June_2019_Update.pdf (usich.gov)
- GAO-20-428, Homeless Veterans: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Interagency Collaboration and Performance Measurement Procedures
- Case Studies: Ending Veteran Homelessness | United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH)
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