Saint Paul and Minneapolis commit to end veteran homelessness by 2015
January 31, 2014 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and State Director to Prevent and End Homelessness Cathy ten Broeke, announced Friday that they are partnering together to finish the job of ending veteran homelessness in Minneapolis and Saint Paul by 2015. The cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are partnering together in a challenge with Columbus, Ohio and Des Moines, Iowa to end veteran homelessness. The challenge will run until January, 2015.
“It is unconscionable that those who served our country in the armed services should find themselves out of a home,” Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said. “Together as a region we will spend the next year doing whatever it takes to make sure our veterans have a place to live in dignity.”
The Twin Cities has roughly 200 veterans who struggle to find a permanent place to live (approximately 350 statewide), with 15 percent sleeping in Saint Paul’s Dorothy Day Center.
“Minneapolis and Saint Paul should be cities where every person can thrive,” said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. “All people, especially our veterans, deserve a home. I am proud to be partnering with Saint Paul in taking on this challenge. We have made significant progress over recent years through our joint work with Hennepin County, but there is still much to do. Ending veteran homelessness is the work of the entire community.”
“Many housing and service providers have been doing the work of ending veteran homelessness for many years. It is because of them and the federal commitment of new housing and service dollars targeted to veterans most in need that we are now at this point. We can see the end of homelessness for veterans,” said State Director to Prevent and End Homelessness, Cathy ten Broeke. “We are pledging to work together to rapidly finish the job of ending homelessness for each veteran and to remove the barriers that remain in their way.”
- In partnership with HUD, the Veterans Administration, the State of Minnesota, Hennepin and Ramsey counties, local housing authorities, the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, and other nonprofit housing and service providers, Minneapolis and Saint Paul have been making significant progress over the last several years on reducing veteran homelessness. For example, between 2009-2013, homelessness among veterans decreased by 52 percent in Hennepin County alone.
- According to the annual Point-In-Time Count done each January for HUD, 349 homeless veterans were identified statewide in January 2013. This year’s PIT count was last week and results are not yet available.
- The key to this success has been in investment of the federal government in:
1. New Section 8 housing vouchers for homeless veterans coupled with services from the VA. The local housing authorities and the local VA homeless services team has successfully targeted these resources to the veterans most in need. This has been an extremely successful collaboration of all levels of government and local community partners.
2. A statewide federal grant – Supportive Services for VeteranFamilies (SSVF) - administered by the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans. This serves as a prevention and rehousing tool for veteran families and has been critical in preventing homelessness for hundreds of households over the past year.
- Strategies successful at ending veteran homelessness include Housing First – a program model and philosophy that ensures the securing of housing first and then linking people to the services and supports they need and want to remain stably housed.
What will we do?
The State Director will coordinate all partners around this goal and, collectively, they will target any remaining homeless veterans with the tools they need to end their homelessness. Housing and service providers working directly with veterans will be especially critical in identifying remaining barriers and gaps to success. We will approach this on a veteran-by-veteran basis.
Published Jan 31, 2014