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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Homelessness among Kentucky veterans
on the rise, state housing authority reports

Homeless veterans in Kentucky’s Balance of State (all counties except Jefferson and Fayette) increased 37 percent from 2009-2013, according to the Kentucky Housing Corporation. KHC released the Veterans Findings for the “Progress Report on Ending Homelessness,” a report describing the trends and changes in the homeless population.

The increase can be attributed to several factors, including the decrease of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as increased efforts to count homeless veterans, thereby finding those who may have previously gone uncounted.

“We want to make sure we have an accurate picture of the needs of our Kentucky veterans,” said KHC Executive Director Richard L. McQuady. “The increased efforts by our partners and staff who work to ensure those who fought for our country are cared for are shown by this increase in numbers. With all of us working together, we can find new and better ways to meet this important need.”

Other notable findings:

• The percentage of homeless veterans as a portion of the total homeless population has grown from 7.92 percent to 10.24 percent since 2008.

• Since 2009, the number of unsheltered homeless veterans in the Balance of State has more than tripled.

• There is a higher rate of disabilities in veterans compared to the overall homeless population, which includes substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In alignment with the federal Opening Doors strategy to end homelessness, KHC has made veteran homelessness a priority target population for homeless program funding. In addition, through the Kentucky Interagency Council on Homelessness, KHC works closely with the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs and is making the Veterans Findings for the “Progress Report on Ending Homelessness” available to that agency for continued partnership on developing and implementing viable solutions.

“The Kentucky Department of Veteran Affairs works with local, state, and federal agencies to assist homeless veterans across the Commonwealth with housing services,” said Commissioner Ken Lucas. “We know there are multiple reasons contributing to veteran homelessness in Kentucky. We appreciate our working relationship with Kentucky Housing Corporation and this latest report it has provided. Together, we need to double down to meet the ongoing housing needs of our veterans and their families.”

The Veterans Findings for the “Progress Report on Ending Homelessness” is the second in a series. Future reports will examine homelessness in children and domestic violence survivors, as well as the impact of disabilities on homeless individuals. The report is available on KHC’s Web site, under Specialized Housing, Resources.

Veterans or the family and friends of veterans may call 877-4AIDVET (424-3838) for services or visit the Veterans Affairs website.

From KHC