WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 8, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — On June 1, Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced that Houston has become the latest, and largest, U.S. city to effectively end veteran homelessness. U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Matthew Doherty all joined Mayor Parker at Union Station to celebrate the landmark announcement.
To reach “functional zero,” or to have in place a system of resources to house every homeless or at-risk veteran, 35 local agencies collaborated to create a service network that was able to locate and house 3,650 veterans over the past three years in Harris and Fort Bend counties. The framework that now exists across Houston ensures that all veterans are able to move off the street into housing, and any veteran who faces a crisis will have access to the support he or she needs to stay off the street.
“Too often those that answered the call of service still find themselves struggling long after leaving the military. Houston is there for our heroes, and just like on the battlefield, we will leave no one behind.” Mayor Parker explained that “From regular provider coordination meetings and aligning local and federal resources, to dedicated street outreach teams and a coordinated assessment system that identifies, assesses, refers and navigates homeless veterans to housing, the Houston region has come together as a team to transform our homeless response system to effectively end veteran homelessness.”
Baylee Crone, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, said “Early this year New Orleans showed us that ending veteran homelessness is possible, and this week Houston proved that the momentum isn’t stopping. We applaud Mayor Parker and each and every person involved in the extraordinary effort in the Houston area to ensure that no veteran will have to sleep on the street.” Crone added, “New Orleans and Houston are not alone in this fight. States, cities and towns across the country are making great strides in eliminating homelessness among veterans, and we expect many more announcements like this one in the coming months.”
Secretaries Castro, McDonald, and Perez, along with USICH Executive Director Doherty also visited Tucson and Las Vegas to highlight those cities’ efforts to end veteran homelessness. Reaching the national goal of ending veteran homelessness in 2015 requires leadership at all levels of government and across private and philanthropic partners. Working together to quickly and strategically deploy available resources, communities can ensure that systems are in place to support any veteran who may experience a housing crisis or need assistance in the future.