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Presentation: 6:07

Poster attached as supplemental file below


Homelessness in the U.S. is a significant public health concern, affecting nearly 600,000 adults on any given night in 2022, with veterans disproportionately represented. Veteran homelessness remains a pressing issue despite significant efforts to address it. The Department of Veteran Affairs, in collaboration with other agencies, set ambitious goals to end veteran homelessness, yet challenges persist. To date, a comprehensive synthesis of existing literature evaluating the effectiveness of interventions for veterans experiencing homelessness has not been conducted. To address this gap in research, a rapid systematic review protocol was performed, to search the available literature and summarize interventions aimed at achieving stable, permanent housing for unhoused veterans. Our team screened 744 articles by title and abstract from PubMed and Scopus to yield ten studies relevant for review. The interventions described in the included studies were categorized into three groups: housing stability and homelessness prevention, population-specific interventions, and service engagement. Findings revealed that homelessness prevention services demonstrated superior outcomes compared to rapid rehousing programs. Housing First interventions proved effective in shortening the time to housing and increasing stable housing rates. However, peer specialist involvement in housing interventions showed mixed results. Additionally, service engagement interventions positively impacted housing outcomes, particularly through the utilization of primary care and vocational services. There is a need for continued emphasis on rapid rehousing and Housing First programs, while also considering a shift towards homelessness prevention strategies. Further research is warranted to explore the efficacy of different case management models and the impact of varying levels of financial assistance on housing outcomes. These findings provide insights for policymakers and practitioners striving to address veteran homelessness effectively.

Lay Summary

Homelessness is a large problem in the United States, and unfortunately, veterans are among those most affected. Every night in 2022, nearly 600,000 adults in the U.S. were without a home, and a large portion of them were veterans. Despite efforts to help, many veterans still struggle to find stable housing. The Department of Veteran Affairs has been working hard to end veteran homelessness. They set goals to try and solve the problem but have not been able to completely address the issue. There is not a complete summary of the different programs attempting to help homeless veterans.Our team wanted to see what has worked in the past to help veterans find stable housing. To do that, we searched two databases using words related to our question such as “homelessness,” “veterans,” and “housing.” We came up with 744 potentially relevant papers. We browsed these papers and found ten that matched our research topic. In these papers, researchers designed programs to help unhoused veterans find stable housing. We carefully read the papers to see if these programs were successful. We categorized all the programs we found into three main groups. The first group included programs focused on helping veterans get a stable place to live or stopping them from becoming homeless. The second group looked at programs that were tailored specifically for certain groups of veterans, like those with mental health problems or substance abuse issues. The last group was all about connecting veterans with other services, like healthcare or job training, and seeing how that affected their housing situations. After looking at all the studies, we made some interesting discoveries. First, programs that helped prevent veterans from becoming homeless worked well. Second, programs that focused on getting veterans into housing quickly and giving them support along the way were also successful. However, programs that included support groups and case managers did not have a big impact on improving housing. Overall, we think it's important to keep focusing on getting veterans into stable housing quickly and helping them stay there. We also need to think about new ways to prevent veterans from becoming homeless in the first place. Finally, we need to keep studying different programs to see what works best and how we can help more veterans in the future. This study is important because it helps us understand how to better support our veterans who are struggling with homelessness.