Dec. 19, 2013
As of yesterday, all previously identified chronically homeless veterans are under a roof, Mayor Greg Stanton, the City Council and Project H3 Vets announced today.
On Veterans Day less than two months ago, Stanton pledged the City would take the steps necessary to make sure each of these veterans was off the streets by Christmas. The next day – Nov. 12 – the City Council unanimously allocated $100,000 to accelerate efforts to place the city’s remaining 56 veterans in bridge or permanent housing.
Two years ago, Project H3 Vets identified a total of 222 chronically homeless veterans in Phoenix. The average time each of these veterans has been homeless is eight years, and more than half are veterans of the Vietnam War. Each will be transitioned into permanent housing by Arizona’s Statehood Day – Feb. 14, 2014.
“This milestone accomplishment is the result of will, strategy and perseverance,” said Stanton. “We set about this challenge as team with a united purpose, and, as a result, Phoenix can take its place as role model city for gratitude and care towards veterans.”
President Barack Obama made it a national priority to end chronic veteran homelessness by 2015, and Phoenix used more than $6.5 million in federal grants to fight homelessness this year. The President praised Phoenix’s progress to house veterans during an August speech at Desert Vista High School. The City Council provided an additional $1.8 million in general funds to aid anti-homelessness efforts.
Phoenix was on track to become one of the first cities in the nation to end chronic homelessness among veterans in February – and engaged in a friendly competition with Salt Lake City to become the first U.S. city to accomplish the feat.
“The leadership of Mayor Stanton, the entire City Council and key state and federal partners has been critical to our progress in ending chronic homelessness among veterans,” said Brad Bridwell, co-chair of the City of Phoenix Military and Veterans Commission. “The alignment among all sectors – government, nonprofits, business and faith – on this issue has been truly amazing and resulted in real gains for veterans.”
“Thanks to Mayor Stanton’s leadership and our amazing community partners, we have created strong momentum in the effort to tackle this epidemic. What we’ve accomplished today is nothing short of incredible,” said Councilman Tom Simplot. “The ‘housing first’ strategy works, and I hope our success in Phoenix can be a model for cities across the country.”
“I’m incredibly proud of how Phoenix committed itself to doing what is right for those who served, and joining together to become the first city in the country to end chronic homelessness among our veterans,” said Councilman Daniel Valenzuela.
“Those who wore our nation’s uniform deserve more than our thanks – they deserve our continued support,” said Councilman Michael Nowakowski, who serves as chair of the Public Safety and Veterans Subcommittee. “Our entire community sent a powerful message today that we will do what it takes to help our veterans when they need it most. I would like to thank Mayor Stanton for his leadership role on this important issue.”
Project H3 VETS is a partnership of the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness, Phoenix VA Health Care System, Arizona Department of Veteran Services, Arizona Department of Housing, Valley of the Sun United Way, Community Bridges, City of Phoenix and others.
Christian Palmer 602-534-6051