Philadelphia, July 2, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Susan Kretsge, Deputy Mayor for Health & Opportunity, announced that more than 1,000 formerly homeless veterans have been placed in housing since the City launched a local initiative, PhillyVetsHome, to end veteran homelessness in August 2013. PhillyVetsHome, a collaborative venture of the City of Philadelphia, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) with non-profit partners, released a report showing a 90% decrease in the number of unsheltered veterans in under two years.
“Our original commitment was effectively to end homelessness among veterans in Philadelphia before Veterans Day 2015,” said Mayor Nutter. “On November 11th, veterans experiencing homelessness in our great city will be rare, brief and non-reoccurring. As the birthplace of our Nation, Philadelphia has an obligation to our veterans, who defended our homes, to help them secure appropriate housing.”
The goal of PhillyVetsHome is for every veteran in the City of Philadelphia who is literally homeless to have the opportunity to find permanent housing, or to prevent homelessness for veterans who are at risk, by November 11, 2015. PhillyVetsHomes said that with unprecedented collaboration, achieving a 90% reduction in the veteran homelessness rate is tremendous preogress, but there is still more work to do to reach the ultimate goal. To achieve that goal, PhillyVetsHome is calling for more property owners to make rental units available for veterans.
“HUD is proud to be a partner in this amazing effort that is building momentum every day,” said Jane C.W. Vincent, Regional Administrator of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Significant progress has been made because of our commitment to our shared goals of providing housing for those men and women who have served to protect our freedom and way of life.”
Kathy Salerno, Director of the Veterans Multi-Service Center Homeless Services, agreed, “Working closely with non-profit partners we are finding and supporting our veteran brothers and sisters every day.” Other partners in PhillyVetsHome include Project Home, Impact Services, and the UESF.
One veteran, Charles Bouges, said his new home brought him a new start in life. An Army veteran, Mr. Bouges was excited to see that his apartment was near the airport; it’s location rekindles a long lost life plan. During 17 years of service in the U.S. Army, Mr. Bouges worked on helicopters and yearned to be a pilot. Now, with stability and a place to live, his aim is to get a pilot’s license. “I am going to soar over Philadelphia,” he said.
“Our commitment to eliminate homelessness for those men and women who have proudly served this county with military service is a reality,” said Dan Hendee, Director of the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia. “Working together, as a community, we are building a system to support all veterans who may experience a housing crisis and need assistance.”
Landlords and property owners interested in renting to local veterans, please complete this form and send applications to firstname.lastname@example.org.