BLOG: Marching Towards Ending Homelessness for Vets
By: J.J. Abbott, Deputy Press Secretary
December 21, 2015
Earlier this year, Governor Tom Wolf challenged all commonwealth agencies and communities to reduce veteran homelessness by 40 percent in Pennsylvania in the last 100 days of 2015. And last week, the governor and officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs announced that we’re nearing that goal with 481 homeless veterans placed in permanent housing between Sept. 23 and Nov. 30, 2015.
In early 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) conducted a point-in-time count which identified approximately 1,300 homeless veterans in Pennsylvania. The commonwealth’s vast network of state agencies and community partners are working diligently to hit functional zero, which means having the process and the resources in place to identify and house any homeless veteran who wants to be assisted.
The challenge, officially known as the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, is a HUD initiative that was launched in June 2014. It was conceived as a means for local leaders to create and coordinate strategies to curb veteran homelessness. Across the United States, 859 mayors, governors, and county executives are currently participating in the challenge. More than a dozen local mayors and county leaders have joined the Mayors Challenge.
The city of Lancaster and Lancaster County have already announced that they have the systems in place to successfully meet the needs of homeless veterans in their area and we know other communities are very close to making the same announcement. Philadelphia announced last week that it “effectively ended” homelessness for veterans in the commonwealth’s largest city. Pittsburgh, among other cities and smaller municipalities, has also made big strides, announcing in November that housing had been provided for 88% of homeless veterans in Pittsburgh.
For more information about the challenge, visit the HUD website.
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