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Washington Continues Battle on Veteran Homelessness

The "Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness" hopes to use local and national resources end the problem completely by 2015.

Washington continues its fight for all United States veterans to have a place to call home. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it will be working with the VA and local mayors to fight homelessness among our American heroes.

The Obama Administration has already reduced has already reduced the issue by 24% since 2010.  The "Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness" hopes to end it completely by 2015.

The program use local and federal resources to remove unnecessary barriers for vets to have permanent and affordable housing.

The following press release was distributed on the matter:

"First Lady Michelle Obama, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the creation of the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness during an event at the White House. Including Mayor Stodola and Mayor Jordan, seven mayors of cities in HUD's Southwest Region have pledged their commitment to ending veteran homelessness in their communities by 2015 using the power of federal, local, and non-profit resources. Across the country, more than 75 mayors and county officials have joined the challenge."
"Working in partnership with local officials, the Obama Administration has already reduced veteran homelessness by 24 percent since 2010. Ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 is within reach, but we must continue to accelerate our progress. The successes of ending chronic homelessness among veterans in Salt Lake City and Phoenix have raised the profile of ending veteran homelessness and prove that with buy-in from local officials and community partners, this is an achievable goal."
"When you put your life on the line for our nation, you should not have to wonder where you will lay your head at night. The Administration and communities across the country have taken bold action to use existing resources to create permanent supportive housing and ensure the targeting of the most vulnerable people," said Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "We know the size of the problem, we know the most effective and successful programs to get veterans into permanent housing, and Congress has given us the resources we need."

"We're excited by the enthusiasm Mayors Stodola and Jordan are showing for ending veteran homelessness in their communities," said HUD Regional Administrator Tammye Treviño. "By working together to combine federal and local resources and use best practices to create a local strategy, we can end veteran homelessness in our region and across the country. I want to thank all the mayors who have already signed up for the challenge not only in Arkansas but throughout the Southwest."

"To aid the mayors in pursuit of the goal of ending homelessness among veterans, the federal government has provided resources and enforced programs to strengthen our country's homeless assistance programs. These resources and reforms, when implemented in local communities, can include:
- Using a Housing First approach, which removes barriers to help veterans obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible, without unnecessary prerequisites;
- Prioritizing the most vulnerable veterans, especially those experiencing chronic homelessness, for permanent supportive housing opportunities, including those created through the HUD-VASH program which offers vital housing assistance in the form of a rental voucher to help house approximately 10,000 veterans;
- Coordinating outreach efforts to identify and engage every veteran experiencing homelessness and focus outreach efforts on achieving housing outcomes;
- Targeting rapid rehousing interventions, including those made possible through the Department of Veterans Affairs' Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, toward veterans who need shorter-term rental subsidies and services in order to be reintegrated back into our communities;
- Leveraging housing and services resources that can help veterans who are ineligible for some of the VA's programs get into stable housing;
 Increasing early detection and access to preventive services so at‐risk veterans remain stably housed; and
- Closely monitoring progress toward the goal, including the success of programs achieving permanent housing outcomes."

"Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have led the Joining Forces initiative's efforts to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned."

In our region, the following have committed to the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness:

Mayor Mark Stodola of Little Rock
Mayor Lioneld Jordan of Fayetteville

Mayor Kip Holden of Baton Rouge
Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans

Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas
Mayor Anise Parker of Houston
Mayor Malcom Duncan, Jr of Waco

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