By Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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, andVirginia. 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.”
For more information about the challenge, visit the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. To read Governor Wolf’s proclamation, click here. To monitor the progress about the challenge, follow DMVA on Facebook or Twitter.
WHEREAS, Veterans are national heroes and Pennsylvanians appreciate their valuable contributions to the security of the Commonwealth and our nation. Pennsylvania is home to nearly 1 million Veterans, approximately 1,400 of whom are homeless and in urgent need of care and assistance, and the Wolf Administration is committed to honoring all Veterans; and
WHEREAS, since the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness was launched on June 4, 2014, several governors, over 550 mayors, and more than 150 county officials nationwide have signed on to the Challenge and are committed to end Veteran homelessness in their communities by the end of 2015; and
WHEREAS, 11 of the Commonwealth’s mayors and 3 county commissioners have signed on to the Challenge, and many of the municipalities involved in the Challenge are on their way to ending Veteran homelessness by December 31, 2015; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania has received a total of $13,746,607 from Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF), a program that promotes housing stability among homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families; and
WHEREAS, Commonwealth agencies should use a Housing First approach, thereby removing barriers to helping Veterans obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible; and
WHEREAS, communities and organizations should prioritize the most vulnerable Veterans; and
WHEREAS, Commonwealth agencies should coordinate outreach efforts to identify and engage every Veteran experiencing homelessness; and
WHEREAS, Commonwealth agencies should increase early detection and access to preventive services so at-risk Veterans and their families remain stably housed; and
WHEREAS, Commonwealth agencies should monitor progress toward the Challenge’s goal, including the success of programs in achieving permanent housing outcomes; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has signed on to this nationwide Challenge to dramatically reduce the number of homeless Veterans by the end of 2015. Communities and organizations throughout the Commonwealth are challenged to find permanent housing for at least 550 homeless Veterans in an effort to ultimately end Veteran homelessness in Pennsylvania.
THEREFORE, I, Tom Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby call upon all Commonwealth agencies to use all resources and programs to reduce Veteran homelessness by 40% in the 100 days following September 22, 2015.
GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, on this fifteenth day of September in the year of our Lord two thousand and fifteen, and of the Commonwealth the two hundred and f ortieth.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor