Homelessness in the United States is a tragic national epidemic. More tragic still is the fact that tens of thousands military veterans, who fought bravely to ensure that the freedoms that the American people enjoy are never taken away, go to sleep every night without a roof over their heads.
Five Star President and CEO Ed Delgado was a part of the invitation-only crowd Wednesday night in Washington, D.C. at the National Alliance to End Homelessness Annual Awards Ceremony. This year’s event, Communities to Watch: Ending Veteran Homelessness, recognized communities that have decreased veteran homelessness by 50 percent or more in the past three years.
"It's deplorable that over 50,000 proud U.S. veterans are homeless," Delgado said. "As an industry, we must do better, we can do better and we will do better to serve this need."
The ceremony highlighted 14 communities out of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. California had the most cities of any state that saw veteran homelessness decline by more than half in the last three years. The nation's largest metro area, New York City, saw a decrease of 65 percent. The largest decline outside of California occurred in New Orleans, with 76.5 percent.
This progress was achieved through the Alliance's Never Another Homeless Veteran campaign, which was created as a two-year effort by the Alliance to gain and leverage public support to end homelessness among veterans. The group boasts a leadership committee consisting of General David H. Petraeus, President George H. W. Bush , former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Senator Patty Murray, among others.
The Five Star Institute is committed to helping veterans achieve home ownership. Five Star has partnered with the Military Warriors Support Foundation to facilitate the donation of about $4 million worth of homes to veterans in the last four years. In September, Five Star hosted its Military Warriors Honors Banquet as part of the 2014 Five Star Conference and Expo in Dallas, Texas.
At that event, Delgado and retired Lieutenant General Leroy Sisco presented mortgage-free homes to six wounded veterans through the Military Warriors Support Foundation, and each veteran received a standing ovation as the homes were presented. Country music superstar Wynonna Judd and her band performed at the event.
Five Star will continue to work with various organizations with the goal of helping U.S. veterans achieve home ownership.
"It is important to remind ourselves who the real heroes are," Delgado said.
Editor's note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of DS News and DSNews.com.