The Crescent City tackles a huge issue facing veterans
The city of New Orleans has just done something many thought would be impossible—placing every known
homeless veteran into housing:
At 6 p.m. on Jan. 2, social workers in New Orleans moved the city’s last known homeless veteran into his new apartment – becoming the first US city to effectively eliminate veteran homelessness.
Working with a group of local agencies, the city identified 227 veterans and found housing for every single one of them. From New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu:
“We owe our Veterans our eternal gratitude for their service and sacrifice to this nation, and making sure they have a place to call home is a small but powerful way we can show our appreciation,” Mayor Landrieu said in a statement Wednesday, announcing that New Orleans had housed all known veterans in the Crescent City.
The city engaged a number of partnerships to make it happen:
The New Orleans model has been built on an all hands on deck approach that relies heavily on coordination between local, state, and federal agencies as well as the non-profit outreach community and private landlords.
UNITY of Greater New Orleans, the lead agency responsible for coordinating all homeless housing and services in the area, worked with 60 nonprofit and government agencies to meet the mayor’s deadline.
UNITY took on the issue after being challenged by First Lady Michelle Obama:
The ambitious effort began in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homeless external linkness, which challenged communities to end Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. To date, 312 mayors, six governors, and 71 other county or city officials from across the United States have accepted the challenge.
While the number of homeless veterans in New Orleans is much smaller than other large cities, this is a model which other mayors around the country should be looking at to eradicate homelessness for veterans (and others) nationwide. You can read more about the coalition and their efforts at UNITY of Greater New Orleans.
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