Veteran homelessness down in record numbers, officials say

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Veteran homelessness has been virtually eliminated in Delaware and Bucks counties according to Department of Housing and Urban Development officials, who say it's also seen a sharp decline in Philadelphia. 

"I think the reason it's working so well is because we're kind of breaking down the barriers," said HUD regional administrator Joe DeFelice about their work with governments and agencies on all levels, from local to federal.

Over the last year, veteran homelessness in Pennsylvania decreased by 12.7% according to HUD officials, who said those numbers are part of a drop of more than 40% over the last nine years. Philadelphia alone has seen a 30% decrease in that timeframe.

Between January 2018 and January 2019, veteran homelessness dropped in Pennsylvania from 982 to 857, which is a 12.7 percent decline.

"There's all different kinds of things that work," DeFelice explained, "whether it's rapid re-housing, permanent supportive housing, different levels of affordable housing, tiny homes, workforce development."

"Does that mean you're going to walk outside City Hall and not see a homeless veteran?" he asked. "No, it doesn't, but what it means is once we identify that veteran--and if they're willing to get housing--we will house them in 90 days."

In addition to finding people who need help, DeFelice said there are other issues they face when it comes to getting them into a home. "Sometimes veterans don't want housing," he said, "but we make sure we continue to talk to them every 14 days."

DeFelice said HUD will continue educating and implementing new programs, until they completely eliminate veteran homelessness.


CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the homeless veteran populations in January 2018 and January 2019.