Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas
Help for Homeless Veterans
More than 3,650 homeless Veterans have been housed in just over three years as a result of a groundbreaking partnership between 35 local, governmental, business, faith, non-profit and charitable organizations in the Houston area. Three Cabinet Secretaries, Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker as well as hundreds of Veterans, service members, local and national stakeholders, elected officials, and community leaders, recently participated in a special celebration of this historic achievement, which effectively ends Veteran homelessness in the fourth largest city in the United States.
“Houston has built a nationally-recognized response system that has the resources to house every homeless Veteran,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who spoke at the celebration. “By working together, these partners have been able to create a system that identifies, assesses, refers and navigates homeless Veterans to housing. We are proud of the vital role that our Michael E. DeBakey Medical Center (MEDVAMC) played in creating and continuing to operate a system capable of consistently responding to a large steady state volume of veterans who experience homelessness.“
Houston is home to the second largest Veteran population (300,000) and every year approximately 3,000 more Veterans move to the area. More than 103,000 of these Veterans receive their healthcare at the MEDVAMC and thousands have been enrolled in the Medical Center’s Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program. “We are committed to working with our community partners to ensure that Veteran homelessness in Houston is rare, short and non-repeating,” said Adam Walmus, MEDVAMC Director. “We provide medical and mental health care to Veterans that help them resolve their homelessness and put them on a path to success.”
The Houston VA and partner agencies engage with all known Veterans who have been identified as experiencing homelessness and have put in place a rapid identification and outreach system for responding to new instances of homelessness among Veterans. Houston has the capacity and resources to respond to future needs by preventing homelessness when possible or rapidly rehousing homeless veterans into safe and stable housing.
"From regular provider coordination meetings and aligning local and federal resources, to dedicated street outreach teams and a coordinated assessment system that identifies, assesses, refers and navigates homeless Veterans to housing, the Houston region has come together as a team to transform a homeless response system to effectively end Veteran homelessness,” McDonald said. “It’s amazing what they have been able to accomplish.
“HUD Secretary Julián Castro, and Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez also attended the celebration in Houston. For pictures of the historic announcement visit the Houston VA’s Flickr account HERE.