According to an analysis by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York state has made substantial progress in reducing homelessness for veterans between 2010 and 2022. The number of homeless veterans has declined 83% (from 5,857 to 990), the largest percentage decline in the nation. The share of homeless adults that are veterans was reduced from 9% in 2010 to just 1% in 2022.
“Veterans answered the call to serve our nation and defend our country’s ideals, and we owe them our gratitude and support,” said DiNapoli. “With federal support, New York is leading the way in reducing homelessness for our veterans. Continued attention to housing and other issues affecting our veterans is a necessary expression of our appreciation and a recognition of our duty to help these brave men and women.”
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there were 665,257 veterans living in New York in 2021, representing 4.2% of the state’s population.
Federal Support Lowers Number of Homeless Vets
The most significant reduction in New York occurred between 2011 and 2016 when the number of homeless veterans declined by 78% (from 5,765 to 1,248). These reductions coincide with the first Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. Programs addressing veterans’ homelessness through the Veteran’s Administration in 2009 recieved $376 million in funding. By 2022, federal funding had increased 635% to $2.7 billion.
New York City Findings
New York City is home to the largest population of veterans in the state (144,558), followed by Suffolk County (56,257). From 2011 to 2022, the total number of homeless veterans in the New York City was reduced by 90%, from 4,677 to 482 individuals.
In New York, the largest shares of veterans are white males, and aged 65 or older who served during the Vietnam era. Yet, Black veterans persistently represent a disproportionate share of those experiencing homelessness. In 2022, Black or African Americans accounted for 53% of homeless veterans in the state, but only 11.1% of the overall veteran population.
In 2011, New York City accounted for 81% of all homeless veterans in the state. By 2022, New York City’s share of homeless veterans was reduced to 49%. New York City’s reductions in veteran homelessness accounts for 96% of the total statewide reduction between 2011 and 2022.
The Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs called on the federal government to declare in 2015 that the city had effectively ended chronic homelessness among veterans.