A Thursday report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development revealed which states have the highest number of homeless veterans.
The 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) found that California, Hawaii and Oregon had the highest rates of veterans experiencing homelessness. On average nationally, 21 out of every 10,000 veterans were homeless in 2020. In California, that number was 77 out of every 10,000 veterans; in Hawaii, 54 out of about 10,000 veterans were homeless; in Oregon, 50 out of every 10,000 veterans were homeless.
The report also distinguished between homeless veterans who live in shelters and those who live on the street. On a single night in January 2020, California accounted for 53% of all unsheltered homeless veterans nationwide, according to the AHAR. Four states accounted for 70% of all unsheltered homeless veterans: California (53%), Florida (6%), Texas (6%) and Washington state (5%). (RELATED: Study: States Dole Out Millions For Illegal Aliens While Veterans Struggle)
In four states – California, New Mexico, Oregon and Georgia – the AHAR found that more than half of homeless veterans were unsheltered. In comparison, 14 states had 90% or more of their homeless veterans sheltered. New York and Massachusetts had the smallest percentage of homeless veterans who were unsheltered (3% and 4%, respectively).
Most homeless veterans (11,401) lived in California, according to the AHAR. Florida had the second-highest number of homeless veterans (2,436), according to the report, followed by Texas (1,948), Washington state (1,607), Oregon (1,329) and New York (1,251). These numbers do not account for population size in each state, meaning states with higher populations are more likely to have a larger number of homeless veterans living there. (RELATED: VA Report Shows Young Military Veteran Suicide Rate On The Rise)
Although a perfect count of the number of homeless veterans is difficult to obtain, the AHAR found that there were 37,252 veterans experiencing homelessness on a given night in 2020. Overall 474,102 adults were experiencing homelessness, meaning that 7.9% of all adults experiencing homelessness were veterans.
From 2009 to 2020, the number of homeless veterans nationwide decreased by 36,115 people, representing a 49.2% decrease. The number of homeless veterans has been decreasing since 2017 but rose for the first time in 2019, the AHAR report found. From 2019 to 2020, there were 167 more homeless veterans – a 0.5% increase. The number of sheltered homeless veterans decreased by 692 (3.0%), but the number of unsheltered veterans rose by 859 (6.0%).