Creating adequate accommodations for homeless veterans is an urgent priority for communities around the country. It's shocking to think that individuals who have given so much for their country could end up in such a desperate situation. Fortunately, there are efforts underway to end or drastically reduce veteran homelessness. Each region has its own particular needs, and as such these programs will differ geographically, but the goal remains the same. Whatever the rate of homelessness amongst veterans is in a particular town or city, anything over zero is too high.

Austin programs certified as successes
When a city creates enough housing to get every one of its homeless veterans off the streets, it is a momentous occasion. According to the Austin American-Statesman, that milestone recently passed in Austin, Texas. The capital is now the third city in its state to earn federal certification of a zero homelessness rate among veterans. The source specified that the figure does not indicate that no veteran will ever become homeless in Austin, rather that the city has enough housing to offer these individuals places to stay if and when they lose their current accommodations.

The news provider explained that there are two main programs at work in Austin. The city has received 454 vouchers from the Housing and Urban Development department and implemented Supportive Housing, offered by the Veterans Administration. The city had to apply for fewer vouchers than Houston and San Antonio, the other two Texas cities that received certification of net zero veteran homelessness. Houston had a particularly hard time housing its vet population, needing 1,127 vouchers.

Cities ending veteran homelessness are seen as taking an important first step toward getting quality of life back on track for their military populations. The American-Statesman spoke with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who explained that other efforts to integrate individuals back into civilian society all flow from housing. If people have a solid place to live, other efforts such as health care and social programs can be implemented. Voucher systems have kick-started this process of housing.

New Jersey is another state attempting to target zero veteran homelessness.New Jersey is another state attempting to target zero veteran homelessness.

New Jersey cities step up efforts
New Jersey radio station NJ 101.5 explained that the city of Brick has recently signed a pledge to eliminate veteran homelessness, along with numerous other leaders in counties, cities and towns all over the state. Bergen County has shown the way, with its rate of zero being certified by the federal government early in August. If other communities can equal this feat, the results for the state will be highly positive – according to recent data, 556 vets are still homeless in New Jersey.

The news provider added that Brick Mayor John Ducey is interested in creating 40 housing units for veterans. Getting the complex built, however, may take some doing – current state laws do not allow counties to fund developments that are just for vets. Previous results in the Garden State have been positive, with 1,838 homeless vets receiving homes between July 2015 and 2016.