On any given night you may find a homeless veteran sleeping on the streets or in a homeless shelter. This is a fact that is unacceptable. Since the beginning of his administration, President Obama has vowed that we will end veterans’ homelessness by 2015. It is a promise he intends to keep.
In June 2010, the Administration released the first Federal strategic plan to end homelessness which commits us to end veterans and chronic homeless by 2015. These efforts have led to a 12 percent decline in veterans’ homelessness in 2011. This is 1-in-5 homeless veterans in just one year!
Today, Secretary Donovan spoke before the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ to discuss the progress the Administration has made so far in ending veterans’ homelessness and what lies ahead. Thanks to programs like the Recovery Act’s Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program, 1.2 million have been saved from homelessness. Working with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, more than 30,000 veterans have been housed through the HUD-VASH program. This program combines HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance with VA’s case management and clinical services. These programs are just the tip of the iceberg.
Secretary Donovan also discussed the importance of not only federal partnerships but partnership with local communities as well. Partnerships like the first-of-its-kind, public-private effort launched by the White House, federal agencies, the City of New York and the Robin Hood Foundation which will assist veterans who return home to New York City receive the services they need to transition successful to civilian life. He also accepted the Jerald Washington Memorial Founders’ Award along with VA Secretary Shinseki on behalf of President Obama and the First Lady for their dedication and commitment to ending veterans’ homelessness.
Our nation’s veterans have sacrificed and given up so much for our freedom. It only seems fit that we do the same for them when they return home. Ending veterans’ homelessness in a challenging task but it is one we must meet.