Stamping out veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 may seem like a lofty goal. But don’t say that in front of someone from Houston, the City of New Orleans, or the countless communities that have stepped up to say that ending veteran homelessness can be achieved.
Over the past few years, there’s been tremendous progress in how localities are managing their homeless veteran population. That’s due in large part to some very important initiatives. In 2009, the Obama Administration made a commitment to END VETERAN HOMELESSNESS. The goal was to house every veteran by 2015.
And just last year, First Lady Michelle Obama issued a second challenge, this one to the nation’s mayors. It was called the 'MAYORS CHALLENGE' and its goal is to inspire communities across the country to get on board and find solutions for veterans experiencing homelessness.
This fall marks the final stretch for both initiatives. Will the federal goal be achieved?
According to data collected during the most recent POINT-IN-TIME COUNT, 49,933 VETERANS experienced homelessness on a single night in January 2014. That’s an overall drop of 33 percent when compared to the state of veteran homelessness in 2009.
This positive step toward the end-goal of getting our nation’s veterans off the streets and into housing has inspired a nation to change its thinking around what’s possible when it comes to ending homelessness.
Communities across the country have done, and continue to do, great things around ending veteran homelessness. Their solutions are innovative, their success inspiring.
But there is still work to be done. Nearly 50,000 veterans are without a place to call home.
You can make an impact and help the nation reach this goal:
- Sign the Statement: It's not too late to sign and pledge your support to the mission to end veteran homelessness!
- Encourage your Mayor (or other elected officials) to get involved in the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.
- Advocate for increased funding for VA homeless assistance programs. The Administration asked for an increase for fiscal year (FY) 2015 to keep this momentum going, but we need to make sure Congress provides this funding.
- Spread the word! This round of funding represents very exciting things happening around our efforts to end veteran homelessness.
- If your community is doing great work, let people know! Work with local media, elected officials, and the business community to ensure everyone in your community has a stake in ending veteran homelessness – and everyone knows it is possible.