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.”