Remarks of Secretary Shaun Donovan at First Lady Michelle Obama's Announcement of Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
The White House
As prepared for delivery
Madam First Lady, Acting Secretary Gibson, Mayors, distinguished guests and friends.
For the past four years, it has been an honor to help advance the goals of President Obama's historic Opening Doors initiative, the nation's first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness.
It's an effort that reflects our country's most basic ideals and values that every person deserves a fair chance to thrive, that we all benefit when our neighbors in need can lift themselves up and that our country can solve big challenges when we are committed and working together.
Over the years, we've proven we can house anyone. Now, our charge is to house everyone. And at the heart of this work is helping our nation's veterans.
These brave men and women have given so much of themselves to protect our lives and liberty. It is only right that we give back to them, and Opening Doors is doing just that.
Through the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, 19 federal agencies-working with local partners-are collaborating like never before to enhance our efforts. We are using a data driven approach at both the national and local level to maximize effectiveness. And we've embraced new approaches like Housing First to combat chronic homelessness.
As the First Lady will highlight, we've made tremendous progress. Local leaders like you have been instrumental. And we've got to keep this momentum going.
That's why I'm so excited to be here today. Together, we can give our nation's veterans not just shelter and support, but also new hope for the future. I remember visiting a veteran who we helped secure housing.
He told me that when he first walked into his new apartment, "I got on my knees and prayed. I now live like a human being. My future is brighter."
Every veteran deserves the chance to feel the same way. And HUD looks forward to working with all of you to give them that chance, and ensure that every man and woman who has served this country has a place to call home.
Now I have the pleasure of introducing Chris Fuentes, an American who served this country with distinction in Iraq. After returning home, she had her struggles.
But she didn't stay down. In fact, after receiving a little bit of help from federal programs, she was able to lift herself up and is now doing incredibly well.
And she is here today to share her story. So please welcome Chris Fuentes.