By Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, Special for USDR
Governor Tom Wolf and officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) today announced that as part of the Governor’s challenge to significantly reduce veteran homelessness, 481 homeless veterans in Pennsylvania were placed in permanent housing between Sept. 23 and Nov. 30, 2015. The Governor’s challenge was announced on Sept. 22.
“Pennsylvania is making steady progress in housing its homeless veterans. With winter weather and extreme cold temperatures rapidly approaching, it is more important than ever that we locate and assist them,” said Governor Wolf. “While we still must wait for final numbers for December, we know that we are getting closer to meeting our goal of providing 550 veterans with stable housing, as well as access to the programs and services that will help them rebuild their lives, by the end of the year.”
The commonwealth’s vast network of state agencies and community partners continue to work diligently to hit functional zero, which means having the process and the resources in place to identify and house any homeless veteran who wants to be assisted.
“Together, the city of Lancaster and Lancaster County have already announced that they have the systems in place to successfully meet the needs of homeless veterans in their area and we know other communities are very close to making the same announcement,” said Brig. Gen. Jerry G. Beck Jr., DMVA’s deputy adjutant general for veterans affairs. “Many other cities, includingPittsburgh, have also made huge strides. It’s been rewarding for us to coordinate and rally the efforts of all of the stakeholders in this effort and we will continue to advocate for Pennsylvania’s homeless veterans.”
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. Across the United States, 859 mayors, governors and county executives are currently participating in the challenge.