Homelessness is a chronic problem in American cities and the homelessness of military veterans is a particularly shameless aspect of that dilemma. Consequently, America’s cities have prioritized finding stable housing for the Country’s homeless military veterans.
The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness is an initiative whereby 570 mayors, governors and local officials vowed to end the crisis of homeless veterans by the end of 2015.
New Orleans was the first city to publicly defeat that problem as of December 2014, a year ahead of schedule.
San Francisco is reportedly on schedule to end veteran homelessness by the December 31, 2015 deadline, committing city and federal funding to housing chronically homeless veterans in renovated structures such as the old Stanford Hotel.
New York City’s Mayor Blasio has also vowed to end veteran homelessness on schedule, though NYC is again experiencing record-high homelessness this year.
Cities are making exceptionally good progress by structuring their efforts so “there is no wrong door for veterans seeking help.” That is, any veteran seeking help will be guided to and assisted by the correct organization. What a refreshing approach to local government: no matter where you go, you CAN’T be at the wrong office because local government will steer you to the right office.
Other detailed aspects of The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness are:
– Conducting coordinated outreach and engagement efforts to proactively seek out veterans in need of assistance, sharing information across outreach teams and sites, and collaborating across systems, including law enforcement, prisons and jails, hospitals, libraries, and job centers;
– Identifying all veterans experiencing homelessness within the community by name and creating a shared list of veterans experiencing homelessness to ensure that no veteran and his or her family falls through the cracks and that all are linked to the most appropriate housing and services options;
– Setting concrete and ambitious monthly or quarterly goals for helping veterans and their families get back into housing as a strategy for pushing local systems to perform with maximum efficiency and achieve better outcomes;
– Implementing Housing First practices and approaches across every part of the homelessness services and housing systems, removing barriers to help veterans and their families obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible, without unnecessary prerequisites; and
– Increasing connections to employment by collaborating with Workforce Investment Boards, homelessness services and housing organization, VA Medical Centers, and employers, recognizing that employment and income are critical to the ability of people to obtain and sustain housing stability and avoid future crises.
It appears that several major U. S. cities are on track to end veteran homelessness by December 31, 2015.
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