VA Secretary McDonough says veteran homelessness numbers improving in Arizona

Jun 21, 2023, 4:25 AM | Updated: 12:37 pm

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough said the number of homeless veterans in Arizona continues to decline, but there’s only one number that will satisfy him.

“We think that the phrase homeless veteran should not exist in the English language because anybody who swears an oath to defend us should have a roof over their head,” McDonough told KTAR News 92.3 FM last week.

McDonough said the goal for 2022 was to permanently house 821 veterans in Arizona, which he said the VA exceeded by 33.

The VA housed 253 veterans in Arizona in the first four months of 2023, pacing for another successful year.

Nationwide, the VA aims to permanently house 38,000 veterans nationwide per year, according to McDonough.

“We’re really proud of the work we’re doing here in Arizona,” McDonough said. “But as proud as we are of the work we’ve done today, we’re not going to stop until we have every veteran housed.”

McDonough attributed the success to their plan in getting veterans off the streets.

It starts with getting them into transitional housing before offering necessary services — typically job training, mental health care and substance use disorder treatment.

The final step is getting veterans into permanent housing.

“When we provide them that kind of support, then we can transition them into permanent housing,” McDonough said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Tasler contributed to this report.

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VA Secretary McDonough says veteran homelessness numbers improving in Arizona