Leveraging data to provide insight into complex issues surrounding Veteran homelessness

It’s not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.” — W. Edwards Deming

Deming, a well-respected statistician, reminds us that identifying the what is critical in determining how to be successful. Deming is widely known for helping to develop the sampling techniques still used by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

VA has taken a similar approach in working toward its priority goal to end Veteran homelessness, gathering and reviewing data on homelessness that then inform strategies to address it. As a result, the nation saw a nearly 50 percent reduction in the number of homeless Veterans between 2010 and 2016.

For the last four years, VA and partners at the state and community levels have been using a data-driven management platform to determine and update the number of Veterans who are homeless and track those Veterans by name so that they can be served most efficiently and effectively. The platform houses data from multiple sources, including but not limited to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Point-in-Time count and the VA Homeless Registry. This web-based resource, available to homeless program officers at every VA medical center throughout the country, gives VA and its partners the ability to:

Seamlessly share strategies and best practices for ending Veteran homelessness. Rapidly gain situational awareness to address emerging needs at the local level. Organize and integrate analysis and planning activities.

Communities that have effectively ended Veteran homelessness