White House works to provide housing to homeless veterans in Florida
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCJB) - Florida has the country’s second-largest veteran population, and President Joe Biden’s administration is trying to keep those veterans from falling into homelessness.
On Thursday, the administration laid out its goals to prevent and end veteran homelessness in 2023. Officials hope to place 38,000 homeless veterans into permanent housing. They also plan to engage with at least 28,000 unsheltered veterans, thousands more than in 2022.
“They actually met and exceeded their goal last year and were able to house 40,000 veterans,” explained Rachel Thomas, senior policy advisor for the White House. “They hope to build upon that and house an additional 38,000 veterans over the course of 2023.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs works with states, cities, and local organizations to identify programs to help veterans obtain housing, shelter, and other services. Other government agencies are working in tandem to address issues that can be related to homelessness including mental illness, alcoholism, and drug addiction.
“Our teams across government, whether it is at the VA or the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of National Drug Control Policy, they are all working together to make sure they are not only addressing things like homelessness, but also other challenges that go alongside that like drug addiction.”
According to the 2020 Census, 1.35 million veterans live in Florida. Of those, nearly 2,300 were counted as homeless in the 2022 Point In Time Count of the nation’s homeless population.
“We are making sure that veterans in the state know of the resources available to them. Not only with housing, but also those wraparound services to ensure once they return home, or finish their active duty, they know the federal government and their state and local governments are there to help them.”
Biden is also asking Congress to allocate $3.1 billion to help provide veterans with housing, access to health care, and other services. It’s part of his proposed Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. The president is optimistic members of Congress from both sides of the aisle will support the proposed spending.
“This is something that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on and come together to support our nation’s veterans and reduce homelessness. Actually, since President Biden was elected, we’ve reduced veteran homelessness by 10 percent.”
The Point In Time Count determined Florida has the third-highest homeless population in the country with nearly 26,000. The highest populations are in California and New York.
Veterans experiencing homelessness can contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance.
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