When we joined the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness (which coincided with a national initiative called Zero: 2016), our two cities had 421 homeless veterans. Today, that number stands at 33. This tremendous progress gives me confidence that soon every veteran in our community will have a place to call home.
Almost as impressive as this result is the level of coordination that has taken place in such a short time to reach this goal. Numerous agencies have worked together to identify best practices for housing veterans and to give them the support they need to stay housed. The Department of Veterans Affairs, Salvation Army, reStart Inc., Catholic Charities, Continuum of Care organizations, Kim Wilson Housing, and many others broke down silos while staying focused on their specific goal.
In the process, these organizations have improved channels of communication and forged new partnerships. They’ve strengthened relationships with landlords. And they’ve identified effective ways to keep our veterans housed once they do find a home.
To all who participated in this huge undertaking: Thank you! You have given hope to hundreds of veterans who have given so much.