Veterans Affairs officials are deploying 25 mobile medical units across the United States over the next six months to support homeless veterans. The units will offer services like primary care, mental health assistance, and telehealth, directly to those in need, without requiring them to visit hospitals. The initiative is part of the department’s goal to find housing for at least 38,000 veterans this year and provide accompanying support services. The decision follows concerns about the rollback of several services aimed at homeless veterans after the national emergency for the pandemic officially ended.
- Deployment of Mobile Medical Units: 25 mobile medical units will be sent to cities across the U.S., aiming to enhance homelessness prevention and assistance for veterans. The first unit has already arrived in Orlando, Florida.
- Services Offered: These mobile units are staffed with medical providers and will offer a range of services to veterans, including primary care, mental health, and telehealth services. They’ve been previously utilized for disaster relief and rural veterans health care enrollment.
- Reduction in Homeless Veterans: Recent data shows that the number of veterans experiencing homelessness dropped by over 11% from 2020 to early 2022. However, about 33,000 veterans still lack reliable housing options nightly.
- Concerns Over Rollback of Services: Advocates are worried about an increase in homeless veterans following the reduction of several services post-pandemic, such as daily support stipends. Some assistance dropped by more than half in regions, requiring action from Congress, which is currently stalled.
- Existing Mobile Veteran Centers: The new medical units will complement 83 mobile veteran centers already providing counseling and benefits services across the country, making healthcare and support more accessible for veterans.