Several veterans in Philadelphia have received the ultimate gift to end the year—a place to call home.
The Philadelphia Housing Authority and a local property owner worked around the clock to quickly house three veterans before 2013 came to an end.
“Being part of the process, especially during this time of the year, makes the hard work worth it,” said Bret Holden, the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Director of Eligibility and Special Programs.
One of the veterans, Wayne Jones, signed his lease a few days before Christmas and said he is happy to be in his new home. According to the property owner, Ron Egan, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program has motivated him to purchase similar properties to rent to veterans.
The success in expediting the leasing procedures for these veterans is just a fraction of what multiagency partners are striving to do in Philadelphia. Under HUD’s leadership, a local team is focusing on housing homeless veterans quickly. Team members are from all levels of government, the Philadelphia Housing Authority and nonprofit organizations.
Many veterans are already in the pipeline for housing—15 HUD-VASH voucher holders with a unit identified and simply waiting for inspection; 25 HUD-VASH voucher holders searching for new homes. In addition, 20 veterans were assisted with homelessness prevention services and 59 formerly homeless veterans found employment by two organizations on the team. So, armed with their success, starting January 9, the Philadelphia team goal will be to house 189 veterans in 100 days—targeting 75 who have been chronically homeless and 25 individuals who are currently unsheltered.
Meaghan Messner works in the Office of Public Housing in HUD’s Philadelphia Regional Office. She leads the local team that is aimed at ending homelessness among veterans in Philadelphia.