Solving the Problem of Homeless Veterans

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According to the 2012 Annual Homeless Assessment Report released by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an estimated 62,619 veterans were homeless on any given night in 2012. The good news is that the estimate represents a 7.2 percent decline from the 2011 estimate and a 17.2 percent decline compared to the 2009 estimate ("Veterans," 2013). Although progress is being made, there is much to be done. There are veterans with the same needs as the general homeless population, but also veterans with severe physical and mental health disabilities, related to their service, that necessitate permanent housing with supportive services. Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center, Inc. (MVOC), is a non-profit organized under tax code 501(c)(3), located in north central Massachusetts. It is one of the oldest continually operating veterans' outreach organizations in the nation, in a state that has done much to support its veterans. Founded as the Vietnam Veterans Outreach Center in 1983, the center has expanded its services over its thirty-year existence to include all veterans. The staff of eighteen manages services from a central office as well as a newly-opened satellite office in an adjacent town. MVOC serves as an excellent example of the New Model of Care. It offers transitional and low-cost housing, mental health counseling, benefits advising, outreach services, case management, structured daily activities, and a food pantry ("Montachusett Veterans Outreach
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