Homelessness disproportionately affects veterans. This is unacceptable, and I commit to decreasing it substantially during my first term as President.
It’s important to note that there are differences in chronic and situational veteran homelessness. Improving stability and employment will help primarily with situational homelessness, while chronic homelessness is usually related to health/mental health issues.
Helping with their transition to civilian life and increasing employment and stability is a huge step in decreasing the number of situationally homeless veterans. Improving mental health resources and treatment is a huge step in combating chronic homelessness.
In order to directly tackle this issue, however, we need to start by establishing a census-like team that will research and find all of our homeless veterans and get them and their information into the VA system. This will allow the health professionals to treat any mental or physical health issues that are contributing to the homelessness, as well as enroll them in other programs to help with employment, financial literacy, and general life skills.
We also need to help veterans afford housing through financial literacy, assistance in saving up for a down payment or security deposit (including by instituting programs while they’re still in active service, to dedicate portions of their pay specifically to retirement and post-discharge housing), mortgage options, and, if it comes to it, assistance in foreclosure proceedings (including incentives for mortgage companies to find alternatives to foreclosures).
We can also do more to increase the availability of affordable housing options. A great example of this is the Tiny Houses project by the Veterans Community Project. Non-profits and the government can work together to innovate in this space and ensure that no veteran falls through the cracks.
(Read Andrew’s full policy of Veteran Assistance here.)
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Problems to be Solved
- Too many veterans are homeless
There are many issues unique to the veteran community that we need to address. The transition to civilian life should be smoother, and we need to put more support structures in place. Public misconceptions have lead to issues with employment. Homelessness is a perennial problem, and the VA - especially the Veterans Health Administration - can do much more to improve the well-being of those who have served. These heroes protect and serve us during their tenure, but they come home to a quick thank you and an economy that isn’t set up to help them succeed. We owe them more than a handshake.
- Drastically decrease veteran homelessness
As President, I will...
Perform a “census” to create a database of all homeless veterans, and the driving reason for their homelessness
Ensure the VHA is fully funded to provide any veteran with a physical or mental health issue preventing them from getting a job or house to be treated
Institute an optional “housing savings” plan for active duty members to put money away for housing upon discharge
Help veterans get mortgages, and, if necessary, defend themselves in foreclosure proceedings
Invest in affordable housing options, both directly and through non-profits