First Lady Michelle Obama, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the creation of the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness at an event at the White House. At the event, more than 75 mayors and county and state officials from across the country pledged they are committed to ending veteran homelessness in their communities.
Using the power of federal, local, and non-profit resources, the mayors and officials hoped to end Veteran homelessness by 2015.
Since 2010, the Obama administration has reduced Veteran homelessness by 24 percent, and believes completely ending Veterans homelessness by 2015 is within reach, but that they must "continue to accelerate our progress to reach the ultimate goal," HUD said in a release.
Recent programs in Salt Lake City and Phoenix have raised the profile of efforts towards ending veterans homelessness, and the Administration believes that with buy-in from local officials and community partners, ending Veteran homelessness is an achievable goal.
"When you serve our nation in the bravest of ways, you should not have to wonder where you will lay your head at night. The Administration and communities across the country have taken bold action to use existing resources to create permanent supportive housing and ensure the targeting of the most vulnerable people," said Shaun Donovan, Secretary of HUD. "We know the size of the problem, we know the most effective and successful programs to get Veterans into permanent housing and Congress has given us the resources we need."
Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson echoed Donovan's sentiment: "We're on our way to ending Veterans homelessness by the end of 2015, but we can't do it alone. It's a challenge that requires close collaboration among Federal, State, local governments, and community groups. We've proven we can reduce Veterans homelessness—now it's time to end it."
The Federal Government has provided resources and enforced programs to strengthen the country's homeless assistance programs. Such programs and resources include removing barriers to help veterans attain permanent housing as soon as possible, prioritizing the most vulnerable veterans to receive permanent housing opportunities, and coordinating outreach efforts to currently homeless veterans.