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HUD No. 14-0604
Joseph J. Phillips
(678) 732-2943

FOR RELEASE
Wednesday
June 4, 2014

LOCAL MAYORS JOIN OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S MAYORS CHALLENGE TO END VETERAN HOMELESSNESS
First Lady Michelle Obama Officially Launched The Effort At A White House Event Today State of Georgia

ATLANTA - 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. So far, in the State Georgia, City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has pledged his commitment to ending veteran's homelessness 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 of Mayor Reed and other local Mayors are showing for ending veteran homelessness in their communities," said Region IV Regional Administrator Ed Jennings, Jr. "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 and encourage more to do so."

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.

Find out ways you can get involved in local efforts to end Veteran homelessness in your own community by visiting here.

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