SAN ANTONIO, May 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Today, San Antonio Mayor Ivy R. Taylor announced that the City of San Antonio has met the objectives of the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary JuliánCastro, City Manager Sheryl Sculley, major initiative stakeholders including USAA and multiple non-profit collaborative partners joined Mayor Taylor to make the announcement and celebrate this historic milestone.
“In January 2015, I pledged my commitment to the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness,” Mayor Taylor stated. “Together, the City of San Antonio, our business sector led by USAA, and our non-profit partners have achieved the goal of effectively ending veteran homelessness in our community.”
The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness is part of a larger White House Joining Forces Initiative supported by HUD, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the National League of Cities. The call-to-action was announced by First Lady Michelle Obama in June 2014 and answered by more than 850 cities and communities across the United States.
“San Antonio is a city with a strong military history that knows how to care for our veterans and their families,” Secretary Castro said. “That’s why we have an even greater responsibility to ensure that once they’ve served their nation, they have a safe, stable place to call home. I’m so proud to congratulate the city and its partners on working tirelessly to give our veterans a dignified home, setting an example for communities across the nation.”
The initiative, supported by local, state and federal resources, was enhanced through a $2.1 million contribution from USAA in January 2016. USAA’s financial support was earmarked to help close the funding gap for the highest barrier to veterans for housing. Due to community-wide commitment, more than 1,335 homeless veterans have been placed or are in the process of being placed into permanent housing.
“Effectively ending veteran homelessness is a great example of what can be achieved when communities identify a problem and work collaboratively to fix it,” said Shon Manasco, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of USAA. “We are grateful to play a small part in helping ensure homeless veterans have access to permanent and supportive housing.”
San Antonio has identified every homeless veteran by name and has a support system in place to ensure no veterans are sleeping on the streets, every veteran has access to permanent housing and the community has the capacity to ensure veteran homelessness, when it occurs, is rare, brief and non-recurring. The effectiveness of this system is based on implemented prevention strategies and rapid identification, outreach, engagement, housing placement and supportive services offered to veterans who may become homeless.
U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald added, “The progress achieved in San Antonio and across the nation to end homelessness among veterans reflects the power of partnerships in solving complex national problems. The men and women who have fought for this nation should not have to fight to keep a roof over their head, which is why VA is serving more veterans than ever before with healthcare, education, job training and wraparound supportive services. There has been tremendous effort across the country to end homelessness among veterans and that work must continue. San Antonio serves as an example of what can be done when the community comes together to care for those who have served our nation and I congratulate them.”
“San Antonio is yet another example of the right leaders coming together around the right strategies to end homelessness in this country,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “We applaud Mayor Taylor and the partners in San Antonio who have joined 23 communities and two states in proving that homelessness is solvable, not just for Veterans, but for everyone.”
City Manager Sculley applauded staff and initiative partners. “The leadership of the City of San Antonio’s Department of Human Services in establishing program systems and the front line efforts of our community partners were instrumental to success of the challenge,” she said.
The Homeless Veteran Community Collaborative includes: South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – South Texas Veterans Healthcare System, American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program, Family Endeavors, San Antonio Housing Authority, Housing Authority of Bexar County, SAMMinistries and Haven for Hope.
Goal achievement does not mean local veterans will never face homelessness in the future. Rather, when these crises occur, veterans will have access to needed support services to quickly stabilize housing. The City of San Antonio encourages veterans and their families who may be struggling with homelessness to contact SARAH at 210-220-2382 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The announcement was streamed live via Periscope on twitter.com/cosagov and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usaa. The official hashtag for the event is #EndVetHomelessnessSA and additional information is available through this link: Mayors Challenge Veteran Profile Storybook.
Video of a formerly homeless San Antonio veteran talking about the housing and move-in assistance he received through the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness Initiative is available for download here.
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