Hines VA Hospital conducts annual homeless veteran census, sees significant decline over past decade
Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital participated in the annual Point-in-Time Count in suburban Cook, DuPage, Kane, and Will counties in January 2021 to estimate the number of homeless Americans, including veterans, without safe, stable housing.
The PIT Count, led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, takes place in communities across the country and is one of the tools used to assess progress each year toward VA's priority goal of ending homelessness among veterans.
Data from a single night in January 2021 indicated significant decreases across the four-county region since 2011, specifically:
• Suburban Cook County: Approximately 31 veterans were counted as homeless. A 73% decrease from 2011.
• DuPage County: Approximately six veterans were counted as homeless. A 67% decrease from 2011.
• Kane County: Approximately five veterans were counted as homeless. An 82% decrease from 2011.
• Will County: Approximately 19 veterans were counted as homeless. A 5% decrease from 2011.
"Over the past 10 years, the Hines VA Homeless program has developed a homeless response system that ensures on any given day, veterans can immediately access a shelter, be engaged by VA staff, and start the process in securing their own safe, stable housing," said Kerry Thomas, Hines VA Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program specialist. "While this large decline over the past decade speaks volumes to the work we have accomplished thus far, our program remains committed to ending Veteran homelessness across all the communities we serve."
In Illinois, 11 communities have effectively ended homelessness among veterans, and Hines VA Hospital continues to work with federal, state and local agencies, and non-profit organizations to continue to reduce veteran homelessness across the region.
Nationally, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States has declined by nearly half since 2010, with more than 920,000 veterans and their family members permanently housed or prevented from becoming homeless.
"No veteran should be homeless," said James Doelling, Hines VA Hospital Director. "Among VA's top priorities is ending homelessness among our nation's heroes, and Hines VA is deeply committed to this goal in our area. If you see a homeless Veteran, please call our hotline at (708) 202-4961. We can help."
Community members can inform Hines VA of homeless veterans in their area by calling (708) 202-4961. A Hines VA social worker can be dispatched to aid the veteran in need. If leaving a message, Hines VA representatives will reach out to the caller within one business day for additional information.
For the 2021 PIT Estimates of Homelessness in the U.S., visit 2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1 to Congress. For more information about the PIT Count, visit www.va.gov/HOMELESS/pit_count.asp.
Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, located 12 miles west of downtown Chicago on a 147-acre campus, offers primary, extended and specialty care to veteran patients in the Chicago area. It is the largest VA in the state of Illinois, where more than a million veterans reside. The hospital treats more than 44,000 veterans from World War II through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.