Positive news! On Thursday, city and federal officials announced that homelessness among military veterans has effectively ended. This means that every veteran in the city of Philadelphia who wants or needs housing officially has access to it.
Since August 2013, reports Philadelphia News, 1,390 Philadelphia veterans have been connected to permanent housing. Only 15 remain on the street, and that’s their choice as they “don’t want to be housed,” says the city’s mayor.
At a recent City Hall news conference, Mayor Nutter addressed the remaining veterans living on the streets:
I have a message for each of you who are still out there. We honor your service and your sacrifices. You deserve a home. We won’t give up on you.
The Philadelphia effort was led by Philly Vets Home, a coalition of local government agencies, nonprofit groups and the local Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in the city.
A program was developed that moved veterans into emergency housing within just a few days of becoming or being identified as homeless – similar to a successful program implemented in the state of Virginia. Veterans were then moved into transitional housing within 47 days and into a permanent home within 105.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro told city leaders:
You have actually done it. You have effectively ended veteran homelessness. The thing is that we can’t stop our work until every single veteran has a place to call home in the United States.
More positive news is on the horizon. Since 2013, states, counties, and cities across the nation have stepped up efforts to find every vet a permanent home and, in effect, have reduced veteran homelessness by one-third!
Earlier this year, New Orleans, Louisiana, became the first city in the United States to eliminate veteran homelessness. And Virginia became the first state to reach the same goal on Veterans Day, November 11th.
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