Ending homelessness among veterans has been a priority of the federal government, and now one of the world's most popular musicians is doing his part. Hip hop icon T.I. recently launched a new campaign, "Give Like a King," to offer support to homeless vets.
The initiative is a joint effort between T.I. and the Veterans Empowerment Organization (VEO) and will be officially introduced during a press conference on December 14. Though details are scarce, the program is expected to focus on facilitating housing programs while providing support services to the country's servicemembers.
"We have to have someone else's back, not just our own," T.I. said in a statement.
T.I., whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr., has certainly picked a cause that is very much in need of support. According to recent figures released by the Center for American Progress, approximately one in seven people who are homeless have spent time in the military.
However, the news isn't all bleak, and there has been some progress made in the fight against veteran homelessness over the last year. Figures from the Department of Housing and Urban Development found there was a 7 percent dip in the number of homeless vets during the last 12 months.
"There's been a big increase in resources to make sure it does decrease," Nan Roman, the president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, told NBC News. "There's been a lot of investment in newer strategies around housing – programs that are really solution-oriented."
There is still work to be done to meet the Obama Administration's goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015, especially among younger servicemembers who may be struggling to make payments on their homes. Among the programs aimed at helping troops make payments, one initiative known as Supportive Services for Veteran Families has been a success thus far. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the program will have helped 42,000 families by the end of 2012.
The number of homeless vets is likely closely tied to the unemployment rate among former servicemembers. For vets of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the figure has stubbornly stayed at around 10 percent even while the nationwide rate has dropped below 8 percent.