As Prepared For Delivery:

Good afternoon, everyone.  

As of last year, there were over 580,000 homeless people in this country. Four out of every 10 of those individuals were unsheltered—living on the streets, in tents, in cars, or other places.

And many are veterans who have served our country.

Homelessness is a challenge we face as a nation—but it is a solvable one.

We know this because of the incredible work that has been done over the last decade to dramatically reduce the number of homeless veterans—by more than 55% since 2010.

We have accelerated that trend during the Biden-Harris Administration. Since 2020, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness has shrunk by 11%.

That’s because this Administration has made historic investments to address veteran homelessness, provide communities with the resources they need, and pursue evidence-based strategies that we know work.

And we can and should learn from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), because their programs are working.

VA relies upon the Housing First approach—an evidence-based approach whereby housing is the first step to providing stability and security for an individual. Housing then serves as a platform for providing critical programs and services..

Once veterans are housed, VA works to coordinate services by leveraging their own delivery system and by partnering with others. This helps make sure veterans get the health care, disability benefits, and other resources they need to stay housed.

Delivering these wraparound services in an integrated way is critical.

These approaches work because they put the veteran at the center of the work, and because of leaders like Secretary McDonough, who has set bold goals for housing more veterans and measures progress often.

In a country as great as ours, everyone should have a roof over their head. That’s why it is one of the Biden-Harris Administration’s top priorities to reduce homelessness writ large—and one of mine, as President Biden’s new Domestic Policy Advisor.

As President Biden said in this year’s State of the Union, “no one should be homeless in this country, especially not those who served it.”

Today, we are proud to announce that we’re taking new steps  to maintain momentum on this urgent priority.

Tomorrow, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Labor (DOL), and VA will announce a number of new actions intended to address homelessness, and specifically veteran homelessness.

Together, these actions mark an important next step in our urgent, collective efforts to address veteran homelessness. 

First, HUD will announce that it is providing more than $3 billion under its Continuum of Care program to help communities rehouse homeless individuals and connect them to needed programs and services.

This represents the largest-ever single-year investment in continuums of care.

Continuums of care serve on the front lines addressing homelessness in their communities.

These funds can be used for a wide range of critical interventions, from rental assistance to supportive services to technology and data sharing.

Second, DOL will award more than $58 million in grant funding to help veterans who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness reintegrate into the labor force.

Through this grant program, veterans can learn occupational skills, participate in registered apprenticeships or on-the-job training, be placed in jobs, and receive supportive services.

Last year, grantees under this program, called the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program, served almost 17,000 veterans who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

DOL’s grants helped veterans get good jobs in fields such as advanced manufacturing, construction, logistics, IT, and cybersecurity—with an average wage of nearly $17.50 per hour.

Third, the Department of Veterans Affairs is releasing awards for its new Legal Services for Veterans Grant Program.

Secretary McDonough will discuss this in greater detail.

Secretary McDonough, thank you so much for your incredible leadership on veteran homelessness and all other critical issues affecting America’s veterans.

You are a true champion of our veterans. I am proud to work with you and to call you a friend. It’s my pleasure to turn it over to you.

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