AUGUSTA – The Maine Homeless Veteran Action Committee held its annual update Wednesday afternoon, helping officials come up with ways to address the issue of homeless veterans in the state.
“It’s just an ongoing issue that the community has to be ready to respond to when it comes up,” said Rob Liscord, the Preble Street Veterans Housing Services Program Manager.
In 2017, close to 200 homeless veterans were housed thanks numerous programs across the state.
“This committee has taken a hard line look, a statistical analysis, looking at real time data of homeless veterans and has really been able to reduce the days that someone is homeless, getting them house quicker and identifying homeless veterans as it happens,” said Adria Horne, the director of Maine Bureau of Veterans Services.
Close to 300 hundred veterans became homeless last year, often times exceeding past 200 days before becoming housed.
“Getting into it is a little bit easier,” said Horne. “The challenge of getting out of it is really reliant on multiple resources around the community.”
Whether it’s because of substance abuse, loss of job or late payments. There are numerous reasons why a veteran becomes homeless.
“Homelessness is unique to the individual and that means the response to homelessness has to be equally tailored to an individual need to make sure they are successful,” said Liscord.
Officials believe, this annual update will help them identify the veteran homeless population and provide veterans with resource to special benefits and get them housed.
“This is a problem that we’ve made a lot headway on but it’s not over,” said Horne.
Currently more than 50 veterans face chronic homelessness. Officials are hoping through this update, the numbers will go to 17.
“We have an opportunity to end homelessness among that population,” said Liscord.