Philadelphia, PA, June 29, 2015 – New numbers released by PhillyVetsHome, a collaborative venture of government agencies and non-profit organizations working to end Veteran homelessness in the City of Philadelphia, reveal that 1,000 Veterans have been placed in housing.
This marks a near 90% decrease in the number of unsheltered Veterans experiencing street homelessness within two years.
PhillyVetsHome partners unanimously attribute this tremendous progress to unprecedented collaboration.
“HUD is proud to be a partner in this amazing collaborative effort that is building momentum every day,” said Jane C.W. Vincent, Regional Administrator of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mid-Atlantic region. “Significant progress has been made because of our commitment to collaboration and our shared goal of providing housing for those men and women who have served to protect our freedom and way of life.”
PHA President and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah agreed, “To be able to partner with other city agencies and like-minded partners to meet the great need for affordable housing in Philadelphia is undoubtedly a good thing. The success of this partnership is measured by the number of Veterans and their families who now have a home and a bit more stability. I am extremely proud to serve these individuals and look forward to many more success stories.”
When asked to share the story of the 1000th Veteran housed, the PhillyVetsHome coalition explained that sixteen Veterans were housed simultaneously in a single day. Yet, one Veteran stood out, because his new home brought with it a new lease on life.
Charles Bouges, an Army Veteran housed through the HUD-VASH program, first rode to Northeast Philadelphia to see an apartment, but it was the airport nearby that rekindled his long lost plan. During his 17 years of service in the Army, he worked on helicopters and yearned to be a pilot. Now, after finding stability in his new home, his aim is to get a pilot’s license –it’s only a matter of time before he will soar over Philadelphia.
“Our commitment as partners to eliminate homelessness for those men and women who have proudly served this country is becoming a reality,” said Dan Hendee, director of the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center. “Working together, as a community, helps us to ensure that systems are in place to support all veterans who may experience a housing crisis or need assistance.”
With the recent milestone of housing 1,000 veterans, PhillyVetsHome is more confident than ever that the city will reach its goal to end Veteran homelessness by this Veterans Day and will help all Veterans, like Mr. Bouges, to achieve personal success.