On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, about 450 veterans will be sleeping outdoors in Santa Clara County.
Sixty-three percent of Santa Clara County’s homeless veterans are unsheltered, compared with 11 percent in Los Angeles and 36 percent nationwide.
That’s the highest proportion of unsheltered homeless individuals in the nation, according to HomeFirst, a county advocacy group. That means, per capita, nowhere else has more veterans sleeping on the streets.
“These folks aren’t victims,” said Rex Andrea, an advocate and Vietnam vet. “They have barriers to getting to wherever they want to be. And our job is to help them remove those barriers.”
In 2009, the Obama administration set a goal to end veteran homelessness by the end of this year. The number of unsheltered homeless veterans nationally has declined 44 percent since, and four cities have met the target. As many as 49,000 vets nationwide are homeless, according to a January 2015 survey.