Mayor Reed vows to end veteran homelessness in 2015

(Photos by Terry Shropshire for Atlanta Daily World and Real Times Media).
(Photos by Terry Shropshire for Atlanta Daily World and Real Times Media).

It is one of America’s greatest sins — that she spends a great deal of time saluting military servicemen and women while they are on active duty, paying homage to them for fighting in many theaters of war on her behalf (especially on Veteran’s Day), yet almost completely ignore them when they return home with a plethora of physical and especially mental health challenges incurred during their time at war.
There is also the great depression that sets in for the men and women who work in fields that cannot, or is hard to, translate into gainful and fruitful employment, stunting their acclimation back into society. Many of them wind up with unmet needs and many end up littering the streets of America.
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Mayor Kasim Reed announced today that the City of Atlanta and its partners are close to reaching the goal of housing all homeless veterans in the city by the end of 2015. At an event hosted by United Way of Greater Atlanta, Mayor Reed joined President and CEO Milton Little, Jack Hardin, Chair of the Regional Commission on Homelessness, Leslie Wiggins, Director of the VA Medical Center of Atlanta, and a formerly-homeless veteran who shared his story of struggle and hope.
Mayor Reed announced that the City has housed more than 450 veterans in 2015, with more than two hundred veterans currently in transitional housing and on track to be placed into permanent supportive housing by the end of the year. In addition, Mayor Reed called on landlords to work with the City and its partners in opening their doors to veterans.
“I salute the women and men of the United States Armed Forces who have served and protected our great nation. Like President Obama, I believe that no one who has worn our nation’s uniform should sleep on the streets,” said Mayor Reed. “The City of Atlanta and our partners are close to reaching our goal of housing all homeless veterans in the city by the end of the year, but we can reach our goal faster with the cooperation of property managers across the city. We ask you to open your doors to a veteran in time for the holidays.”
Mayor Reed also called on the Atlanta community to support the #DayfortheBrave campaign, which raises funds for the Welcome Home Kit initiative. This initiative bundles donations for security deposits, utility deposits and home furnishings for veterans moving into their new apartments. The Welcome Home Kits consist of key items to successfully house veterans, such as landlord engagement assistance, housing navigation, and security and utility deposits, as well as furnishings to transform an empty apartment into a home. These critical components are often missing from veterans housing programs and provide an important element of support to newly-housed veterans. To support Welcome Home Kits for homeless veterans in Atlanta, click here.
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“No veteran should be homeless,” said United Way of Greater Atlanta President and CEO Milton, J. Little, Jr. “And it’s through collaboration with the City of Atlanta, the VA and other partners that we’ve been able to engage the community and volunteers to end veteran homelessness, not just manage it.”
There are nearly 50,000 veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States, according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2014 Point-In-Time count. In addition, about 1.4 million more are at risk of becoming homeless due to lack of support or financial hardships.
Mayor Reed signed on to President Obama’s White House Mayor’s Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness in 2012. As part of a national campaign with 14 cities, Atlanta not only exceeded the goal of re-housing 100 chronically homeless veterans in 100 days, but also housed more homeless veterans than any other city as part of this challenge in the United States.
Veterans in need of supportive housing are invited to call 404-574-1681 for resources and help.
 

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