U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson met with formerly homeless veterans in Manchester on Tuesday.
Carson also released new statistics showing that the rate of veterans experiencing homelessness dipped by 2% nationally, but by more than 20% in New Hampshire.
The numbers come from a nationwide “point in time” homelessness survey conducted nationwide each January.
“One homeless vet is one too many,” Carson said during a press conference.
The national rate of homelessness has declined steadily since 2010, according to Carson, a result of both sustained economic growth over that period, and greater attention to the issue by federal, state and local governments, as well as nonprofits.
Still, Carson said many veterans aren’t aware there is a support system.
“I was talking to some of the veterans here this morning, and they were stating how they found themselves in situations and had no idea that there were people there, and that there were programs there, to help them,” he said.
Carson spoke inside a transitional housing residence operated by Harbor Homes. The facility opened in 2013, providing 26 apartments as well as training and case management services for veterans.
Carson said simply providing four walls isn’t enough.
“You know, if you just give people housing, and they’re traumatized, that doesn’t do the job. If you just give them services without physical support, that doesn’t do the job. But when you combine those things, it has a very, very positive effect.”