Phila milestone in ending vet homelessness

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.

We all know that the vast majority of America’s veterans return home and go on to find good jobs, build strong families, and keep on serving our country in their workplaces, congregations, and communities. But we also know that today, in cities and towns across this nation, there are men and women who wore America’s uniform in wars as far back as Vietnam and Korea — and as recent as Iraq and Afghanistan — but don’t have a roof over their heads.

For too many years, the conventional wisdom has been that veterans’ homelessness is an impossible problem — too big and entrenched to ever really solve.

We disagree — as do our husbands. That’s why, in 2014, we launched the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, and since then, more than 800 city and county officials have committed to ending veteran homelessness in their communities. Here in Philadelphia, officials and advocates have worked for months to track down every homeless veteran in this city, get to know each of them by name, and collaborate with landlords to quickly find permanent housing for them. And today, Philadelphia has fulfilled its commitment, proudly announcing that this city has ended veteran homelessness and can quickly provide permanent housing for any veteran who becomes homeless in the future.

In doing so, Philadelphia joins cities across the country — including Houston, Mobile, Syracuse, Las Vegas, and New Orleans — as well as the entire state of Virginia. Together, they have shown us that ending veterans’ homelessness isn’t just our moral obligation, it is a realistic, achievable goal, if we summon the will and devote resources equal to the task.

That’s what President Obama and Vice President Biden have done since they first took office: They have made veterans’ homelessness a government-wide priority, cutting through the bureaucracy and devoting record amounts of funding and resources to house our veterans.

The results have been dramatic: Since 2010, veteran homelessness has decreased by 36 percent, and we’ve housed nearly 230,000 veterans and their family members through government housing vouchers and homelessness programs.

But while we’re making important progress, we believe that one homeless veteran is still one too many. Our veterans have risked their lives for our country, and when they don’t even have a place to go when it rains, that is an outrage and a stain on this nation. Our work will not be finished until every veteran has a place to call home and every community has the tools it needs to keep veterans from sliding back into homelessness, so we urge other cities to follow Philadelphia’s lead.

And as we approach the fifth anniversary of our Joining Forces initiative — a nationwide effort to rally all Americans to recognize, honor, and support our veterans, troops, and military families — we plan to keep working with state and local officials, landlords, advocates, and others to help all veterans find safe, affordable housing in their communities.

But government can’t do this alone. We need businesses, nonprofit organizations, faith communities, and others across the country to pitch in as well. City by city, state by state, we have plenty of work to do together to solve this problem.

And of course, ending veteran homelessness today doesn’t mean that we’ll never see another veteran on our streets in the future. But it does mean that when a veteran experiences a housing crisis, Philadelphia — and other cities across the country — will be prepared to get them back into a home right away.

That is the very least we can do to serve America’s heroes as well as they have served this country.

Contact First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden via @joiningforces or www.joiningforces.gov.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/thinktank/362701621.html#tTfi8gz51HlWZV2M.99

MAYOR NUTTER ANNOUNCES SUCCESS IN CHALLENGE TO END VETERAN HOMELESSNESS

U.S. HUD Secretary Castro Lauds City Effortsnuttercastro

Philadelphia, December 17, 2015 — Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined by Julián Castro, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced that the City of Philadelphia has effectively ended veteran homelessness by ensuring veterans have access to housing and services. With this announcement, Philadelphia has met President Obama’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by 2015.

“Too often, veterans find themselves struggling with issues like homelessness and poverty and that is a shame. For those who gave so much of themselves to this Nation, there is no reason why they should be left out in the cold,” said Mayor Nutter. “Today, I am happy to report that homelessness among veterans in Philadelphia is now rare, brief and non-recurring. In other words, Philadelphia has effectively ended veteran homelessness for those who want a home.”

On December 15, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) notified Mayor Nutter that the agency had confirmed that the City of Philadelphia has the necessary systems, services, resources and housing inventory in place to respond quickly and effectively to prevent and end homelessness among the veteran population should those veterans seek help.

“Safe, stable housing is the foundation for a life of opportunity, but too many people across the nation don’t have a place to call home each night,” said Secretary Castro. “Today in Philadelphia, it’s clear how much can be accomplished when everyone works as a team to serve the most vulnerable in our communities. The city and its many partners have stepped up to the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness and have every reason to celebrate this incredible achievement.”

The letter to Mayor Nutter from the USICH Executive Director Matthew Doherty read in part, “We are confident that the infrastructure and systems you have built will ensure that any veteran experiencing a housing crisis in Philadelphia will get the support they need to quickly obtain a permanent home.”

The Mayors Challenge was issued by First Lady Michelle Obama. The City of Philadelphia collaborated with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and other service providers in the region to accomplish this goal. This coalition of agencies is known as PhillyVetsHome. So far, PhillyVetsHome has helped 1,390 veterans and resources are available to help other veterans who come forward seeking help.

U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, whose district includes the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, said, “As an appropriator I’ve been proud to help fund programs like Housing First which successfully provided support and re-housing services to Philadelphia’s homeless veterans and their families. Today, we witness the true impact of these programs as we announce an effective end to veteran homelessness in our community. This is a monumental day for the city, and I commend the efforts of all involved—especially Mayor Nutter, President Obama, and Secretary Castro. I know the vision and leadership from Philadelphia’s effort will continue to support communities around the country as we work towards an end to veteran homelessness nationwide.”

 

A Home for All Veterans/Viviendas en Nuestros Veteranos

“Donning camouflage t-shirts, more than two hundred veterans, vet advocates and housing officials joined WMGK DJ John DeBella, Friday, at a LOVE Park rally highlighting the city’s progress in ending homelessness among local vets.”

Check out coverage of the #RallyForZero by Jim Smith/El Hispano.

Source: A Home for All Veterans/Viviendas en Nuestros Veteranos

TODAY!

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Today we are gathering to #RallyForZero! As we reach the homestretch in Ending Veteran Homelessness, we will gather together in unity to show we will march on until ALL of Philadelphia’s Veterans are home…

Meet us in Love Park today at 4:00PM if YOU are #ReadyForZero, too!!

Find us in Camouflage!

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Tomorrow when we #RallyForZero, we will all wear camouflage t-shirts to symbolize the unity of our coalition and the often invisibility of an important and issue: Veteran Homelessness.

As we gather in Love Park (16th & JFK) and march down Broad Street, we hope to bring Veteran Homelessness to the forefront and encourage the public to join us in this “homestretch” to Veterans Day!