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Homeless Veterans

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Homeless Veterans

Mayors Challenge

Interagency and Cross-Cutting Initiatives to End and Prevent Veteran Homelessness

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Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness

Mayors at the White House (United States Conference of Mayors)
Mayors at the White House (United States Conference of Mayors)

The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, issued by first lady Michelle Obama in June 2014, is an interagency initiative that calls on cities, counties and states to commit to ending and preventing homelessness among Veterans in their communities.

To date, hundreds of mayors, county representatives and governors have accepted the challenge, which has added renewed urgency to local multidisciplinary actions to identify Veterans in need and connect them to housing and related supportive services.

Officials are leveraging federal funding for effective programs, proven practices and service-gap-filling partnerships to aggressively connect homeless and at-risk Veterans to the help they need to become permanently housed.

The public commitments of government officials are galvanizing local efforts and fostering implementation of proven practices that are reducing—and ending—Veteran homelessness in community after community. These proven practices include:

  • Targeting high-need cities and communities where most homeless Veterans are
  • Setting aspirational goals and engaging the community and systems to meet them
  • Using data to find and serve Veterans in need and benchmarking progress against specific criteria that federal agencies agree lead to an end to Veteran homelessness
  • Leveraging VA and community resources, implementing best practices like Housing First and engaging partners to fill remaining service gaps
  • Synchronizing programs—including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and Grant and Per Diem—and coordinating outreach among VA and local social service providers so that Veterans receive the right services at the right time
  • Creating integrated systems of care that sustain progress in ending homelessness and monitor housing instability among Veterans

The community-by-community progress to date proves that setting concrete, ambitious goals through initiatives like the Mayors Challenge are pushing systems and partners at every level to redouble efforts to make sure all Veterans have a permanent home.

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