In midst of the various challenges U.S. veterans face returning home from war, they received a welcome bit of news on Tuesday morning.

Homelessness declined by 12 percent for veterans between January 2010 and January 2011, according to figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“Our progress in the fight against homelessness has been significant, but our work is not complete until no veteran has to sleep on the street,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, according to The Washington Post.

But in introducing new initiatives, Shinseki noted that "The problems that lead to homelessness begin long before veterans and their families are on the streets."

The report found that 67,495 veterans were homeless in January 2011, almost 9,000 fewer than the 76,329 total recorded in January 2010.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan expressed his delight over the report, calling it "nothing short of extraordinary."

"These numbers validate the work done by both HUD and VA to reach our nation’s homeless veterans and get them into permanent housing,” he said.