NEW ORLEANS, LA – January 12, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that New Orleans is the first major city in the nation to end hom–elessness among Veterans as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. Members of the New Orleans Interagency Council on Homelessness as well as Veterans, service members, military leaders, national homelessness advocates and partners from the federal government joined Landrieu at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans to announce and celebrate the city’s historic milestone.
“Six months ago on Independence Day, we came together to pay homage to our service members and Veterans who courageously serve our great nation and announced our goal to effectively end Veteran homelessness in New Orleans by the end of 2014,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “I am honored and very pleased to report that we have housed 227 Veterans, exceeding our goal of 193, thanks to the hard work of our committed partners. New Orleans is now the first major city in the nation to answer the President and First Lady’s call to end veteran homelessness – and we did so one year earlier than the federal goal. We owe our Veterans our eternal gratitude for their service and sacrifice to this nation, and making sure they have a place to call home is a small but powerful way we can show our appreciation.”
The ambitious effort began in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, which challenged communities to end Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. To date, 312 mayors, six governors, and 71 other county or city officials from across the United States have accepted the challenge.
According to the HUD 2014 Homeless Point in Time Survey conducted by UNITY of Greater New Orleans, 193 individuals were counted to be homeless Veterans in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. As a part of the Mayors Challenge, Mayor Landrieu put together a coalition of nonprofits, homeless service providers, U.S. service members and Veterans, and federal, state, and local agencies – a coalition that has now permanently housed 227 homeless Veterans in New Orleans.
“Veteran homelessness is an important and challenging issue, and we are very proud of our accomplishment today in New Orleans, but the work of ending Veteran homelessness is never really done,” said Landrieu. “That’s why we have also created a new and sustainable rapid response model that combines all available local, state, and federal resources with the work of our local active duty and former military personnel – utilizing Veterans to help Veterans. I hope our model here in New Orleans can be replicated nationwide so that we can end Veteran homelessness in America once and for all.”
“I want to congratulate Mayor Landrieu and the entire City of New Orleans for turning its commitment to end Veteran homelessness into a reality,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “As one of the first cities to achieve this noble goal, New Orleans is helping lead a national campaign to make certain that these brave Americans have a place to call home. At HUD, we stand ready to assist in bringing this kind of progress to cities across the country, fulfilling our commitment to all those who served our country so courageously.”
Jared Brossett, New Orleans City Councilmember for District D:
“Quite simply, the men and women who have defended our freedom deserve to return to the American Dream. Far too often we as a nation have failed them in that regard. ?So the fact that New Orleans is on the leading edge of ending veteran homelessness is something of which we should all be proud.”
Susan Guidry, New Orleans City Councilmember for District A:
“This initiative, which has addressed the immediate needs of our city’s homeless veterans while creating a structure for the future, is a testament to the strength of the partnerships that have been forged among government, nonprofit, and private entities as we work together to rebuild a stronger, more sustainable New Orleans. Since taking office in 2010, I have been proud to work with Mayor Landrieu, my colleagues, and stakeholders citywide, particularly UNITY of Greater New Orleans, to reduce, prevent, and end chronic homelessness in New Orleans. This is an incredible step toward a goal that may have once seemed impossible but is now within our reach.”
Baylee Crone, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans:
“The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans is honored to stand with the Mayor and the City of New Orleans to recognize this important milestone in our effort to end Veteran homelessness in America. Communities across the country can look to New Orleans as an example of the progress to be made when local partners step in with a safety net and a hand up to self-sufficiency and independence for Veterans in crisis. The momentum is on the side of rapid change, and we are closer than ever to achieving our mission of effectively ending Veteran homelessness. The challenges remain daunting, but they are surmountable with close coordination of complementary programs on the local level. The team here in New Orleans has shown us that we must push forward and be unrelenting in our drive to end Veteran homelessness by 2015.”
Laura Green Zeilinger, Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness:
“Today, and for every day to come, Veterans in New Orleans have access to a safe, stable, home of their own. The City of New Orleans, thanks to the leadership of Mayor Landrieu, has delivered on their share of the promise that every Veteran who has served our country has a home in our country. This remarkable achievement is significant to the entire nation—to every state and community that has the will to end Veteran homelessness before the end of 2015. New Orleans, by answering the call that it must be done, proved to all of us that eliminating Veteran homelessness can and will be done. Achieving this goal gives us also the opportunity to build on this success to end homelessness for all Americans.”
Nan Roman, President of the National Alliance to End Homelessness:
“What New Orleans has accomplished for homeless Veterans shows that this is a problem that can be solved. Under Mayor Landrieu’s leadership, key partners came together and worked to identify every Veteran and get him or her into, or on the path to, housing. In the future, homelessness among New Orleans Veterans should be rare and brief. Every city and town in America should take a look at New Orleans and say, ‘if they can do it, so can we.’”
Read more about this historic announcement, including NCHV Executive Director Baylee Crone’s remarks at the press conference, in the latest post on Coalition Call.