ALBANY – New York State’s
homeless population grew from 63,445 in 2011 to 86,352 in 2016, but the
number of homeless veterans in the state dropped from 5,765 to 1,248,
a decline of more than 78 percent, according to a report released Friday
by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
The reduced homeless population among vets is due in large part to local
communities working together using resources including federal, state
and local funding to identify and/or develop programs to meet the needs
of the veterans they serve, the comptroller said.
DiNapoli’s report looked at a number of select counties and cities
to see what they have done. Among those explored in the report are the
counties of Dutchess and Ulster.
Dutchess has a long-term commitment to ending homelessness through multi-disciplinary
actions that identify veterans in need and connect them to housing, health
care, mental health services, and related supportive services.
The number of clients serviced in the last grant year totaled 131 veteran
families with funding for programs from federal, state and county dollars.
Among the programs cited is Liberty Station, which provides housing for
individuals, and a women’s veteran home in Poughkeepsie. The “Hire-A-Vet”
program with the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce has created
greater access to jobs for veterans.
The county has implemented the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer PTSD Peer-to-Peer Veteran
Support Program, bringing veterans together in a secure, anonymous setting
to help one another cope with the effects o0f PTSD and TBI.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs estimated 20 to 30 homeless veterans
live in Ulster County. The address that the “Patriots Project”
was created by acquiring and renovating a home in the City of Kingston.
The building was formerly an assisted living center that was in a state
Forty-nine veterans have spent an average of 60 to 90 days in the transitional
home since July 2014. The majority of those served in the Patriots Project
are single men from the Vietnam War era.
“Although the homeless veteran community may never b e fully eliminated
due to practical limitations, the situation in Ulster County can best
be described as having a population of ‘Functional Zero,’
everyone who is receptive to assistance has received help,” DiNapoli
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