Homeless Veterans Overview

19 September 2020


The first question to be asked is how big of a problem this is in our state and where are the majority of homeless veterans located. The table below shows the latest data from the Federal Government. The methodology is not rigid and is based on a count conducted on a single day across our state. But, it does give us a snapshot to start with.


Continuum of Care Name (CoC)

Homeless Veterans, 2018

Homeless Veterans, 2017

Homeless Veterans, 2016

Homeless Veterans, 2015

Seattle/King County CoC





Washington Balance of State CoC





Spokane City & County CoC





Tacoma, Lakewood/Pierce County CoC





Everett/Snohomish County CoC





Vancouver/Clark County CoC











As you see from this table, most of the homeless veterans in our state are concentrated around larger metropolitan areas. Also, these numbers fluctuate each year. This could be caused by either changing circumstances or inconsistent point in time count processes. Either way, this is far too many of our brothers and sisters and their families to be homeless.

There are several common characteristics for what causes homelessness: economic issues, health related issues, and affordable housing. These characteristics apply to our veterans and their families as well. In addition, there are other issues that veterans have to deal with that the general homeless population does not. These include the effects of their military service – PTSD, TBI, other debilitating physical and mental disabilities, not able to re-adjust to civilian life after the military, and loss of self-confidence.

As our state and country struggles through this most difficult year, these problems can become amplified. The COVID-19 virus has caused loss of employment and closure of businesses and, now, the impact of the forest fires ravaging our state and region will add to this problem. Winter is also approaching, which means adverse weather conditions like rain, mudslides, and snow. Any one of these challenges or a combination of them will only magnify the impact of being homeless or the risk of becoming homeless.

What this means for us is that trying to help our homeless veterans during “normal” times is a demanding task in itself. Now when the effects of this unprecedented year are added in, the potential for a much higher number of homeless veterans and their families needing help will undoubtedly increase.

As we work to help these homeless veterans and their families, they will have more than a single issue that needs to be addressed. Their needs could be immediate, near term, and/or long term. These will tend to fall into some common categories. I will elaborate on each of these individually in future updates.

These common categories are :

In addition, some of these veterans may have been incarcerated which will make obtaining housing or gainful employment more complicated.

The resources needed to address each of these categories will vary by county and region in our state. Here are some common resources to start with.

I will go into more depth on these topics in later updates. If you have a community services organization or know of another veterans program to help homeless veterans, please let me know so I can share with others.


Gary Walker

4th District Commander

Homeless Veteran Coordinator



One of the four pillars of the American Legion is to help, support, and assist our fellow veterans. Homeless veterans are in critical need of our assistance and support. Regardless of whether it is assistance at the Post, Department, or National level, these veterans need and deserve our help.

The resources and information listed below are a starting point for providing that assistance. It should be noted that these resources do not encompass all of the resources available. New organizations and programs are continuously being created. As these resources are identified, they will be added to this resource list.

If you are aware of other resources not listed below, please email the contact information to the department’s Homeless Veteran Coordinator, Gary Walker, at walkersolympia@comcast.net.


  1. General Information
  2. Veterans Administration (VA) Homeless Veterans

VA Programs For Homeless Veterans - Veterans Experiencing Homelessness

  1. VA Puget Sound Regional Medical Center

Homeless Veterans - VA Puget Sound Health Care System

  1. Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA)

Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program | WDVA (wa.gov)

County Map | WDVA (wa.gov)

Resources | WDVA (wa.gov)

  1. American Legion

Homeless Veterans | The American Legion

National Call Center for Homeless Veterans - VA’s National Call Center for Homeless Veterans hotline: (877) 424-3838 or (877) 4AID VET gives homeless veterans and at-risk veterans free access to trained counselors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  1. Housing
  2. National Coalition of Homeless Veterans

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (nchv.org)

  1. Salvation Army

Northwest Division (salvationarmy.org)

  1. Red Cross

Northwest Region | American Red Cross

  1. Union Gospel Mission

Union Gospel Mission - Partner to End Homelessness

  1. Employment
  2. General
    1. VA

Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services - Veterans Experiencing Homelessness (va.gov)

  1. Washington

ESDWAGOV - Veteran services

  1. General
    1. VA Nutrition and Food Services

Food Insecurity - Nutrition and Food Services (va.gov)

  1. Washington

Food Assistance | Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19)

  1. Tribal Members in Washington

844-TribalFoodSecurityResources.pdf (wa.gov)

  1. Healthcare


Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program - Veterans Experiencing Homelessness (va.gov)

B. Washington

Counseling and Wellness | WDVA (wa.gov)

  1. Education

A.        VA

Education and Training Home (va.gov)

B.        Washington

Education and Training | WDVA (wa.gov)

  1. Homeless Women Veterans

A.        VA

VA Programs to End Homelessness Among Women Veterans - Veterans Experiencing Homelessness

B.        Washington

Women Veterans | WDVA (wa.gov)

8. County

A. Lewis County

Veterans Relief Fund - lewiscountywa.gov.

B. Thurston County