Alexandria, Virginia Functionally Ends Veteran Homelessness

by Lee Hernly, Editor

MayorsChallenge2015bMayor William D. Euille announced on Veterans Day that Alexandria, Virginia has functionally ended veteran homelessness in the city, achieving this goal by providing greater capacity to house homeless veterans than the need for veteran housing.  This milestone fulfills the goal laid out by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, and coincides with Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s announcement that Virginia has been certified as the first state in the nation to functionally end veteran homelessness statewide.

“As we celebrate Veterans Day, we are very proud that Alexandria’s community has joined forces to ensure that those who served our country with honor can continue to live with dignity,” said Mayor Euille.

The City worked with local homeless service providers, veteran services providers, the Office of Veteran Affairs and PATH Homeless Outreach to reach this goal. Most recently, City Council authorized the lease of City-owned property to nonprofit housing-provider New Hope Housing for rapid-rehousing of single men who are homeless, with preference given to veterans.

Achieving a functional end to veteran homelessness is defined by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness as identifying all veterans experiencing homelessness, providing immediate shelter to any unsheltered veteran who wants it, maintaining the capacity for all veterans to move into permanent housing, and providing a system to respond to any veteran who experiences homelessness in the future. Housing leaders stress that functionally ending veteran homelessness does not mean that no veteran is or will be homeless, since some persons experiencing homelessness choose not to accept housing and a veteran may become newly homeless at any point in the future.

Homelessness can occur suddenly and cannot always be prevented, but communities participating in the Mayors Challenge have committed to ensuring that veterans who become homeless will be quickly identified and aided.  The City’s goal is that any veteran who becomes homeless in Alexandria will move into permanent housing within an average of 90 days after connecting with the City’s community-based homeless response system.

For more information, including ways you can help homeless veterans locally and nationwide, visit this link.

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