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Challenges Faced by Homeless Veterans in Rural Areas

May 7, 2014

A national push to end homelessness may leave behind veterans who live in rural parts of the United States. The Housing Assistance Council recently released a report that detailed the unique challenges faced by veterans in rural areas compared to those living in urban areas. The distance between Veterans Affairs (VA) offices in rural areas can be quite significant, thereby making it difficult for veterans in these areas to access services or even know that such services exist.

The White House has undertaken a push to end homelessness by 2015, and the number of homeless veterans has dropped significantly in recent years. Several urban areas have reported that they will end chronic homelessness among veterans in the near future. Phoenix and Salt Lake City have already reached these goals. Such victories remain out of reach for rural areas without new programs. Only about 3 percent of housing vouchers have gone to rural VA offices in the past five years.

Earlier this year, VA officials began new rural outreach efforts in Mississippi and Oregon that will inform more rural programs in the future.


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