There's more than one way to find housing for veterans who have fallen on hard times, and the right move for a particular community will depend upon its needs, geography and local government strategy. Efforts can be backed by local agencies, a part of federal programs or initiated by small-business owners in the region, and comprise anything from vouchers to whole new housing units. Several communities across the nation have already seen success, and their efforts can serve as models and inspiration for other towns and cities with similar needs.

Rate falls in Hawaii
According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the Hawaiian island of Oahu has seen veteran homelessness decline in two important ways. There are far fewer vets without housing as of August than there were at the beginning of the year, and the rate of these individuals becoming newly homeless also fell. Those dual declines put Oahu in rare company, making it one of five regions vying to set a new standard for housing the veteran population. Nate French of nonprofit Community Solutions explained that a joint effort involving multiple agencies is responsible for the improvement.

"You have such deep engagement from the state and city and VA," French said, according to the news provider. "We don't see that in every community. You have all the right people at the table. … And it's not just token leadership."

The observed rate of homelessness on the island is down 44 percent in six months, based on periodic checks by local social workers. The Star Advertiser explained that at the beginning of the year, there were 329 vets known to be living without homes on the island. As of August, the number was 183. And with the average number of veterans losing their homes falling from 24 per month in January to 21.5 in August, it's clear that progress is being made.

French explained to the news provider that Oahu might soon reach "functional zero," which is when the number of vets receiving homes each month is equal to or greater than the amount still living without. He specified that Chicago, Tucson, Ariz., Jacksonville, Fla., and Riverside County, Calif., are the other top-performing regions.

The Hawaiian island of Oahu has cut veteran homelessness by 44 percent.The Hawaiian island of Oahu has cut veteran homelessness by 44 percent.

New apartments in Philadelphia
The above example shows the results of cooperation between government groups, but what does a mass housing effort for vets really look like? A recent demonstration comes from Philadelphia, where the Philadelphia Housing Authority and a project called HELP USA have created many apartments for homeless veterans in a historic building that previously served as a school. According to the Philly Voice, there will be 37 units available.

The news provider added that Philadelphia, like Oahu, has drawn high praise for its ability to actively create housing units for those who need them. From 2013 through 2105, the city housed 1,390 homeless vets permanently. The new apartment building project provides a valuable use for real estate that was sitting vacant for decades waiting for the right developer to do something with it. Once finished, the new development will offer career counseling and health services in addition to safe, clean living spaces.