In an effort to help the high amount of homeless veterans, the VA expanded their voucher program. The voucher program is a joint venture between the VA and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). At any time, almost one third of the homeless are veterans. This equals approximately 130,000 homeless veterans.
While the VA vehemently denies any correlation between homelessness and being a veteran, that may not be entirely true. Many veterans return from deployments and combat with mental illness and health issues that were not present prior to being deployed.
Further, it is very possible many people discharged from the military have less than jovial feelings toward the government making it less likely they will turn to the VA for help.
While the majority of homeless veterans are from the Vietnam War era, veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are beginning to show up in large numbers. Until now, the voucher program operated only in cities where the VA operated medical centers or clinics. Now, however, their efforts have been expanded to include cities that operate other facilities, like outpatient clinics.
One issue inherent in the voucher program is that it does not cover advance rents and deposits. Many homeless veterans have trouble saving up this type of money which means they will not be eligible to take advantage of the voucher program.
Currently, the voucher program runs for 18 months per contract and the HUD is currently deciding whether to issue vouchers beyond the end of each individual contract.