The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Washington, D.C.-based non-profit alliance National League of Cities (NLC) have taken another step in the fight against veteran homelessness by issuing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in several U.S. cities.
HUD secretary Julián Castro announced the partnership while speaking at the NLC's annual convention on Austin, Texas, on Thursday. Castro and NLC Executive Director Clarence Anthony both signed the MOU.
"Today's partnership sends a loud message that ending homelessness is not a dream," Castro said. "It's a goal within reach for veterans, for youth, for families and for individuals. It's up to us to make it a reality. Working together we can get it done and give every family a home of dignity."
The MOU calls for the development and execution of regional forms as part of a joint effort by HUD and NLC in order to raise awareness and understanding of the benefits of joining the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, which was announced by first lady Michelle Obama in June.
Also as directed by the MOU, HUD's resources will be made available to: Make it a priority to assist those veterans who are most vulnerable to homelessness or suffering from chronic homelessness; focus outreach efforts on identifying and engaging those veterans who are homeless; target veterans who are in need of short-term rent services in order to be integrated back into communities and assist them through rehousing interventions; utilize resources to help veterans who are ineligible for the VA's programs to attain housing; increase preventative measures through early detection of at-risk veterans to help them get and sustain stable housing; and closely monitor progress toward the goal of ending veteran homelessness, which includes tracking the progress of goals aimed at finding permanent housing for veterans.
"We are excited to partner with the Department of Housing and Urban Development on this critical issue facing our veterans," Anthony said. "Since the beginning of the Mayors Challenge, NLC has worked closely with HUD to engage city leaders. This partnership will expand our efforts to bring a deeper understanding of the resources available to local leaders and assist in creating action plans that will go a long way towards eliminating veteran homelessness."
The announcement of the memorandum by HUD and NLC came less than three weeks after the National Alliance to End Homelessness, at their annual awards ceremony, recognized 14 of the nation's 100 largest communities that have decreased veteran homelessness by 50 percent or more in the past three years. This year's awards ceremony, which took place November 5 in Washington, D.C., was titled Communities to Watch: Ending Veteran Homelessness. Five Star President and CEO Ed Delgado was among the attendees of the invitation-only event.