Veterans Health Programs

Programs for Homeless Veterans

Veterans constitute 23% of the U.S. homeless population. Emotional and physical trauma experienced during combat increases the likelihood that some veterans may develop mental illness and substance abuse problems, which in turn put them at risk for homelessness. To help these veterans, the VA has the nation’s largest network of programs for assisting homeless veterans and their dependents. Through several different programs, the VA provides outreach, long-term shelter and employment assistance, as well as clinical assessment and referral to veterans. Following are some of the VA’s larger programs for helping homeless veterans:

  • Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV)

    This program manages more than 135 clinics where homeless veterans with mental health problems can receive physical and psychiatric care. Residential psychiatric care for veterans is also available through a network of facilities the VA has contracted with.

  • Domicilary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV)

    The VA provides more than 1,781 beds in 35 VA facilities to homeless veterans disabled by injuries, medical problems, psychiatric disorder or old age, but who do not need hospitalization or nursing home care. DCHV is run in a residential setting and offers outreach services, medical and psychiatric evaluation and treatment, vocational counseling, and support programs after discharge.

  • Compensated Work-Therapy/Transitional Residence Programs (CWT/TR)

    The VA offers homeless veterans work opportunities and housing in a therapeutic setting. veterans with physical, psychological and substance abuse issues can work with both private and government employers to learn new job skills while simultaneously receiving medical treatment. The veterans are paid for their work and are required to make a small monthly payment toward their room and board.

    CWT/TR has four primary goals:

    • Help homeless veterans obtain and sustain sobriety.

    • Help homeless veterans get and maintain stable work and housing.

    • Teach homeless veterans to manage their lives independently and productively.

    • Minimize homeless veterans’ reliance on the VA and other institutional care.

  • HUD-VA Supported Housing (HUD-VASH) Program

    The VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have joined forces to give permanent housing and ongoing treatment to mentally ill homeless veterans. HUD has set aside 1,780 Section 8 housing vouchers for veterans with difficult cases, and the VA provides outreach and clinical services to these veterans at 35 VA facilities.

  • Homeless Women's Veterans Program

    As of October of 2004, it is estimated that approximately 7% of the U.S. homeless population, about 14,000 individuals, are female veterans. The VA has 11 sites that host a specialized program geared to homeless women veterans. The program focuses on case management, outreach and residential care. The program also provides VA Women Veteran Residences, which serve as transitional housing for women veterans who are homeless or who have substance abuse or mental health issues.

  • Oral Health for Homeless Veterans

    Dental care and general oral health are two of the greatest unmet needs of homeless veterans. The VA has a pilot program that provides limited dental care to homeless veterans at 10 VA facilities through contracted providers.

For more information about programs for homeless veterans, contact the VA's Homeless Veterans Programs Office at 202-273-5764 or a VET Center.

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