Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf, along with officials from the Pennsylvania Departments of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), Labor and Industry (L&I), Community and Economic Development (DCED) and Human Services (DHS), today challenged all commonwealth agencies and communities to reduce veteran homelessness by 40 percent in the last 100 days of 2015. The challenge, which kicks off on September 22, means that 550 veterans will achieve housing stability by the end of the year.
“Veterans are national heroes and I’m proud to join governors and mayors across the country as we work toward the goal of ending homelessness among our military veterans,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “In order to achieve this goal, Pennsylvania’s veterans and their families who are in need of permanent housing must have access to the programs and services that will help rebuild their lives, acquire meaningful employment, and successfully establish themselves in our communities.”
The challenge, officially known as the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that was launched in June 2014. It was conceived as a means for local leaders to create and coordinate strategies to curb veteran homelessness. In early 2015, HUD conducted a point-in-time count which identified approximately 1,300 homeless veterans in Pennsylvania, down from over 1,400 in the 2014 count.
Across the United States, 550 mayors, eight governors and 151 county/city officials are currently participating. The eight governors that have committed to the challenge are from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Puerto Rico, and Virginia. Many of the participants involved in the challenge are well on their way to ending homelessness by the end of the year.
“The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, through our Office of Veterans Affairs, is coordinating the efforts of stakeholders in support of Governor Wolf’s challenge,” said Maj. Gen. James R. Joseph, adjutant general of Pennsylvania. “Pennsylvania’s success will be measured when we reach ‘functional zero’ which means having the process and the resources in place where we can immediately house a homeless veteran who wants to be assisted.”