The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimated that more than 100,000 veterans were homeless on any given night in the United States in 2011. In 2010 alone, 200,000 veterans were entered into the VA’s homeless registry. The plight of homeless veterans has received increased attention in recent years, due to concerns about the needs of service men and women returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to those from past conflicts

Since 2011, great strides have been made to assist veterans experiencing homelessness and help them get on the path to permanent housing. In that time, veteran homelessness fell by nearly half throughout the United States, and even further here in New York City.

Breaking Ground has long devoted considerable resources to addressing homelessness among veterans, who on average make up about 11% of our total client base.

Veterans Transitional Residence
In 2008, in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), we opened the 96-unit Veterans Transitional Residence (VTR) on the Montrose, New York VA campus. For nearly a decade, The VTR, in coordination with the VA, offered comprehensive on-site case management, mental and physical health services, substance abuse counseling, and employment assistance to move individuals into permanent housing within a two-year period. Over that time, Breaking Ground helped more than 800 veterans who were experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

In 2017, Breaking Ground and the VA at Montrose looked at the tremendous success that Westchester County, the Westchester County Continuum of Care for the Homeless, and the Patriot Housing Initiative had accomplished at ending veteran homelessness in Westchester County. In light of this success, it was determined that a program of our scope and size was no longer needed, and we decided to close the program.

We published an Op-Ed in the Westchester Journal News in May of 2017 celebrating the success of the program in helping hundreds of homeless veterans to stabilize and find permanent housing over the past decade.

For a look back at residents of the program and the services it provided, we made this video early in 2017:

Serving Veterans Today
We continue to serve homeless and at-risk veterans through our street outreach and permanent supportive housing programs in New York City.

Breaking Ground and our partners work closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs to confirm that clients receive all veterans’ benefits to which they are entitled, including housing, employment training and support, and medical, mental health and/or substance abuse treatment.

The veterans with whom we work served our country with courage and pride, and it is our enduring honor and privilege to serve each of them in her or his hour of need.