The new secretary of the Veterans Administration shares the same goal as former President Barak Obama, to end homelessness among U.S. veterans. David Shulkin stated he would like to reduce the number of veterans who are homeless from 40,000 to 10,000 or 15,000 during the Trump administration, according to Business Insider. The VA secretary stated that veteran’s homelessness in Virginia, Delaware and Connecticut was virtually over in 40 communities. The outgoing secretary, Robert McDonald, stated those figures should be attainable nationwide by the end of 2017.
Some skeptics believe that the new VA secretary is being “cautiously optimistic,” and he should undertake a more aggressive approach to end veteran homelessness. One Connecticut Democrat, Richard Blumenthal, stated that homelessness among U.S. veterans should be over by the end of Trump’s first term.
Secretary Shulkin stated that some veterans prefer help from private sources instead of the V.A., and a shortage of available houses and high real estate prices are hindering the VA’s efforts to end homelessness. According to the secretary, the biggest challenge the VA faces is in Los Angeles, where skyrocketing home prices are making it next to impossible to find suitable housing for low-income veterans. Business Insider reports that voucher programs for veterans will receive more funding for the fiscal year 2017, which will help agencies such as the United Way of Los Angeles help find transitional housing for veterans facing homelessness.