End Veteran Homelessness

This article is cross-posted from the OMBlog.

Early on in the Administration, we laid out an ambitious goal of ending veterans’ homelessness in 2015. Announcing the goal was the easy part.  However, to truly make sustained progress on this goal and drive on-the-ground results, we recognized the need to put in place rigorous management practices that would help the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and providers of care improve services for veterans and their families.

In 2009, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) launched the Agency Priority Goals and the Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals initiatives that established a series of clear, measurable benchmarks to help agencies deliver on their missions and drive better outcomes for citizens. VA and HUD’s efforts are prime examples of what the Priority Goals are all about. Each quarter, OMB tracks progress on Performance.gov to provide accountability and allow the public to see how we are doing, what is working well and what is not. Today, the Administration is posting performance results for Priority Goals on Performance.gov for the 3rd Quarter of 2014. The agency reports show significant progress across the Federal government in delivering results, which includes the President’s recent announcement of a 33 percent decline in veteran homelessness since 2010.

Here are some highlights:

  • Veteran Homelessness.  Over the last four years, the Administration has reduced veteran homelessness by one-third (or by more than 24,800 people). To do this, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs collaborated to identify the biggest cause of homelessness and the most effective measures to reduce and prevent homelessness. As a part of the overall reduction in veterans’ homelessness, 35,000 homeless veterans have moved into permanent housing through VA-funded residential and rapid rehousing programs and the HUD-VA Supportive Housing program (HUD-VASH) through Q3.
  • Renewable Energy.  As part of cross-agency efforts to expand the development of clean, domestic sources of energy, the Department of Interior has greatly expanded permitting for renewable energy on Interior-managed, approving over 14,100 megawatts of renewable energy capacity over the past 4 years which, when built, would help power approximately 4.8 million homes.
  • Disaster Loans.  By implementing a new process for issuing applications to disaster survivors, the Small Business Administration has increased the proportion of its disaster loan applications returned by those who request them in each quarter in FY 2014. In Q3, the return rate increased to 80%, as compared with 50% and 62% in Q1 and Q2 respectively. This higher application return rate means more disaster survivors will receive much needed Federal disaster assistance, and SBA will improve the efficiency of its operations. This new approach also improves customer service by adding multiple touch points with disaster survivors and allowing them to more easily apply for assistance.
  • Federal Real Estate Footprint.  GSA is working proactively with agency customers to refine their leasing requirements and consolidate where economically and financially appropriate. In doing this, GSA is helping agencies minimize operations, maintenance, and investment costs. By the end of FY15, GSA expects to have reduced the amount of leased space by 5% on replacement leases. Though FY14 data is not yet available, GSA helped reduce the Federal real estate footprint by 1.4% in FY13.

When I was Secretary of HUD, we used the Agency Priority Goal framework to take concrete actions that would advance our goal to end homelessness and set intermediate annual targets to significantly reduce the number of homeless veterans.  I led regular data-driven reviews with VA’s Deputy Secretary (a.k.a. HUD STAT) and our respective teams to see what was working and remove any roadblocks.  For example, by analyzing data reported from field offices, we could identify and work with cities that were not using a “housing first” approach, which removes barriers to help veterans obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible, with fewer prerequisites. By using the APGs the Administration has made significant progress on our goal to end veterans’ homelessness – going from aspirations to practical steps we could implement across the country to improve outcomes.  And now as OMB Director, I am pleased to help enable these types of performance improvement efforts across agencies on a range of issues.

The Agency and Cross-Agency Priority Goals are an opportunity for senior policy officials, career executives, managers, front line employees, and providers to come together to accelerate progress on the government’s bottom line outcomes.  By using a data-driven, implementation-focused approach, agencies are achieving significant gains in their respective missions to accelerate economic growth and expand opportunity for the American people.

For more information on the Administration’s performance improvement efforts, please visit Performance.gov.

Shaun Donovan is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

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Published on Sep. 12, 2014

Estimated reading time is 3.9 min.

Views to date: 47


  1. Roger Bartlett September 16, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    PIT is a joke, it’s like the unemployment stats. If you are not getting a check or registered you aren’t counted. Many agencies will not or don’t have the resources to participate. The count in rural America isn’t close to a real picture of the homeless situation. Many areas don’t have homeless programs, no agency no count. I have worked in poverty programs, veterans, refugees and domestic violence.
    With limited resources you spend your time helping your clients not trying to count those not served. Take one week of the money we spend on Wars and use it at home to solve this problem.

  2. Jackie September 15, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    What do you do if you are a homeless veteran who has a condition which causes him to have an extreme body odor? Shunned everywhere he goes. It impossible to find work of any sort not even day labor. I am computer literate with Microsoft Office Products. I have work experience but this doesn’t matter. I am out of hope and will be soon out of time. I can’t take this situation much longer!!!!!!!!!

  3. Anthony J. DeCarlo September 12, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Congress, the administration, the news media and the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs are all concentrating on improving/correcting problems within the VA health system; but this is only half of the VA problem that is denying health care services to veterans. That other half is the C&P half of Veterans Affairs. Working with this part of VA is worse than working with that other federal bureaucracy – the IRS. The VA is broken, band-aids will not correct what is wrong. The culture as far as I’m concerned is VA employees have one great job except they have to interface with veterans. Heads have got to roll if there are to be any changes!

    • linda September 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm


  4. Terry September 12, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Keep up all the good stuff

  5. John Cianteo September 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Come-on, your wearing us down, talk-talk-talk
    enough, let’s try action. PTSD (30min) each
    month, not enough time. Many of walkin, greetings
    Patient needs to calm down, who know what their
    drive was. Vet starts, it’s over.
    PLEASE-PLEASE FIX Vet/VA medical/records
    Secure emailing been down 3 wks around here
    Texas friends can’t get into VAs online system
    Who stopped travel pay? I ve watched people
    their travel pay helped them get to their VA app
    Tough out here, no extra monies to pay for gas
    meal, time off, child care. Travel pay helped
    Vet make it to/from. Thanks

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