Philly Vets Home 2015 is a community-wide, collaborative, and inclusive effort to end homelessness among veterans in Philadelphia by Veterans Day 2015. The Campaign is driven by an unprecedented collaboration between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, 2 City offices, the Housing Authority, and 5 non-profit organizations committed to ensuring the success of our mission.
On a single night in January 2015, approximately 337 Veterans in Philadelphia were sleeping on our streets, in emergency shelters, safe havens and transitional housing. Not only is this a local problem, but as of January 2014, 49,993 Veterans were experiencing homelessness in the United States. This is a 33% percent decline of Veterans experiencing homelessness (24,837 persons) compared to HUD’s 2010 estimate.
Homelessness is always a tragedy but for someone who has bravely served our country and fought for our homes it is a travesty. Veterans have historically been at greater risk of experiencing homelessness than other American adults and are more likely to be on the streets for longer periods of time. The reasons are not all related to military service, but rather are directly related to combat exposure, wartime trauma, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which in turn can lead to further social isolation, substance abuse, and psychiatric hospitalization – primary risk factors for homelessness.
On December 17, 2015 our partners were joined by HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to officially announce that we reached our goal of “functional zero” and the end of Veteran homelessness in Philadelphia.