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Veterans Bureau Aims to Eliminate Veteran Homelessness

Providers, veterans groups and state and local officials met this week to discuss ways to eliminate veterans homelessness by the end of next year.

After several years of increasing numbers, the number of homeless veterans decreased by 46 percent between 2014 and 2015. Maine Bureau of Veterans Services Director Adria Horn says it will take greater coordination and cooperation, but she thinks the goal of ending veterans homelessness in Maine in 2017 is achievable.

“Sharing of information, and continuing to work through the plans that have been in place and have been contributing to the decrease in numbers we have seen for the last four years, I do. I think we are on the right path,” she says.

And Horn says that goal includes an expanded definition of homelessness mandated by the Legislature. Federal officials define homeless as totally without a place to stay, while Maine has adopted a broader definition to include those living in their cars or coach surfing at friends’ homes.

“The federal definition right now really talks about literally
homeless, it doesn’t include those living in their car, those that have been
couch surfing. The Legislature was very clear that they wanted us to expand the
definition to get a better count,” she says.