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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

First Lady announcing the Mayors Challenge

The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness was launched on June 4, 2014, by a compelling call to action by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of the Joining Forces initiative. Bolstered by an initial commitment from 77 mayors, four governors and four county officials to end Veteran homelessness in their communities by the end of 2015, the First Lady pressed the moral imperative to aid our Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Public officials have stepped up to join this worthy cause. As a part of the Challenge, mayors and other state and local leaders are working to leverage federal, local and nonprofit efforts to end Veteran homelessness in their respective communities. Through these efforts, communities are aggressively working to quickly connect homeless and at risk Veterans to the help they need to achieve housing stability.

Ending homelessness among Veterans is a national effort that requires the support of a variety of public and private organizations and agencies at all levels of government. The Mayors Challenge is helping to generate public awareness and attention by increasing learning and information-sharing among stakeholder organizations and communities and by inspiring even greater progress, locally and nationally. The public commitments of mayors are helping to galvanize local efforts and foster more purposeful coordination of resources and strategies for the good of Veterans who are homeless and at risk of homelessness.

Examples include:

  • Undertaking a ‘housing first’ approach, which will remove barriers and help Veterans obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible, without prerequisites.
  • Prioritizing the most vulnerable Veterans, especially those experiencing chronic homelessness, for permanent supportive housing opportunities, including those created through the Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program.
  • Coordinating outreach efforts to identify and engage every Veteran experiencing homelessness and focusing outreach efforts on achieving housing for those identified.
  • Targeting rapid re-housing interventions, such as those made possible through VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, toward Veterans and their families who need shorter-term rental subsidies and services in order to be reintegrated back into their communities.
  • Leveraging local housing and resources that can help Veterans who are ineligible for some VA programs to find stable housing.
  • Increasing early detection and access to preventive services so at risk Veterans and their families may remain stably housed.
  • Monitoring progress towards the goal of ending Veteran homelessness, with particular focus on the success of programs achieving permanent housing outcomes.

To date, more than 255 cities, counties and states have pledged to end veteran homelessness in their communities by the end of 2015 using the power of federal, state, local, and non-profit resources.

Find the latest information on recent commitments and progress made by visiting the HUD Mayors Challenge portal.

To publicly commit to ending Veteran homelessness in your community, and to learn more about joining the Mayors Challenge, send an email to and visit

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