Veteran Homelessness Facts

World War II vet

The vast majority of homeless veterans (96%) are single males from poor, disadvantaged communities. Homeless veterans have served in World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the military's anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America.

How many veterans are homeless?

While only 8% of Americans can claim veteran status, 17% of our homeless population is made up of veterans. In 2010, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) estimated that on any given night there were 76,000 homeless veterans sleeping on American streets.

What is the primary cause of veteran homelessness?

Veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless than other Americans due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.

Doesn't the Department of Veterans Affairs take care of homeless veterans?

Yes, they do. But the problem of homelessness among veterans is a big one. The VA served more than 92,000 homeless veterans in 2009. With an estimated 500,000 veterans homeless at some time during the year, the VA reaches 20% of those in need, leaving 400,000 veterans without supportive services.

Since 1987, the VA's programs for homeless veterans have emphasized collaboration with community service providers like Green Doors to help expand services to more homeless veterans. For more information about VA homeless veteran programs, go to


  1. "Vital Mission: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans," The Homelessness Research Institute at the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Nov. 2007.
  2. "Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education And Networking Group (CHALENG) For Veterans. The Fourteenth Annual Progress Report On Public Law 105-114. Services For Homeless Veterans Assessment And Coordination." February 28, 2008.
  3. "Is Homelessness a Housing Problem?" Understanding Homelessness: New Policy and Research Perspectives. Fannie Mae Foundation, 1997.
  4. National Survey of Homeless Veterans in 100,000 Homes Campaign Communities, 100,000 Homes, November 2011.
  5. Veteran Homelessness: A supplemental Report to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 2009
  6. The Center for American Progress day.html
  7. Sandy Leeds, lecturer, the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin.