Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/24/12
Mayor Reed and Atlanta VA announce joint commitment to end chronic homelessness among Atlanta’s veterans by end of 2013
Atlanta exceeded goal of housing 100 veterans in 100 days, more than any U.S. city, through a partnership with VA, HUD, USICH, local housing authorities and nonprofits
ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta VA announced today a joint commitment to end chronic veterans’ homelessness in Atlanta by December of 2013, putting the city on a path to meet President Obama’s goal of ending veteran homelessness across the country by 2015.
“It is unacceptable that each night, hundreds of veterans who have courageously risked their lives to keep our country safe are among those sleeping on Atlanta’s streets,” said Mayor Reed. “We are doing something to correct that and we have made tremendous progress thanks to strong support in the non-profit and faith communities as well as at the federal, state and county levels. My administration will continue to work hard to ensure that those who are chronically homeless get the right type of support they need at the right time and that our efforts put them on the path to sustainable housing.”
As part of a national campaign with 14 cities, Atlanta not only exceeded the goal of re-housing 100 chronically homeless veterans in 100 days, but also housed more homeless veterans than any other city as part of this challenge in the United States. In partnership with Veterans Affairs, the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), housing authorities in Atlanta and DeKalb County, the United Way of Greater Atlanta and Project Community Connections, Inc. (PCCI), Atlanta moved 131 chronically homeless veterans into permanent supportive housing in 100 days.
“Atlanta’s VA team developed strong relationships with government and community partners to achieve this 100-day target, and with strong leadership from the Mayor’s Office, we plan to continue working together to make Atlanta a model for how other cities can improve coordination and build momentum around ending homelessness among veterans,” said Jenifer Turner-Reid, VISN-7 Deputy Network Homeless Coordinator for the VA.
The 100-day effort helped cut red tape out of the process of housing homeless veterans using HUD-VASH (HUD-VA Supportive Housing) vouchers, reducing the average time it takes for a veteran with a voucher to move into housing by one-third. It also helped improve the targeting of vouchers to the most vulnerable.
"The reason Mayor Reed’s commitment today is so important is that it underscores a larger truth: we can end Veteran homelessness when we treat it like a solvable problem,” said Jake Maguire, 100,000 Homes Campaign. “The last 100 days have surfaced a new sense of what’s possible in Atlanta, and with the Mayor’s leadership and continuing collaboration among these traditionally separate groups, this effort is poised to move forward, not back."
Atlanta’s participation in the 100-day effort was led by Mayor Reed’s Innovation Delivery Team. Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Team was tasked with developing innovative solutions to reduce street homelessness in Atlanta and coordinating partners to ensure successful delivery of these new approaches. National leaders at the USICH, HUD, VA, and the 100,000 Homes Campaign also supported this effort.
"On behalf of the Obama Administration, the US Interagency Council on Homelessness commends Atlanta for its tremendous efforts and ongoing commitment to meet our national goal of ending homelessness among America's Veterans by 2015,” said Barbara Poppe, Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. “It is simply unacceptable for someone who has served our country to be without a safe and stable place to call home. With the leadership of Mayor Reed, Atlanta is joining leaders throughout the country in demonstrating that by setting bold goals, fostering partnerships and the strategic implementation of housing and community supports, homelessness among Veterans is an injustice we can solve."
Atlanta’s last homeless point-in-time count in January 2011 showed that there were approximately 1200 homeless veterans, including over 400 who were thought to be chronically homeless.
In order to meet the goal of ending veterans’ homelessness, the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team will help fuel the efforts of government and nonprofit partners to:
• House 300 additional chronically homeless veterans by December 2013;
• Partner with Decatur Cooperative Ministries and Project Community Connections, Inc. to provide coordinated support services to keep formerly homeless individuals in housing;
• Improve the City’s ability to reach the most vulnerable homeless veterans on the street by launching a Population Registry in January 2013, in which hundreds of volunteers will be engaged in a citywide effort to identify and survey people who are homeless in order to understand their needs;
• Expand housing opportunities for veterans through partnerships with nonprofits, developers, and property owners; and
• Continue to work with government agencies and nonprofit to cut the number of days to house someone with a HUD-VASH voucher down to 60 days.
The Veterans’ Homelessness efforts are the first in a series of programs Mayor Reed will launch as part of his “Unsheltered No More” initiative to dramatically reduce street homelessness. These efforts are being led by the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which is funded by a $3.3 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The team brings rigorous focus and best-in-class practice to identifying powerful solutions, developing implementation plans, and then managing for results. Atlanta is one of five cities to receive an Innovation Delivery Team grant. Part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, Innovation Delivery Team grants were also awarded to Chicago, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans.
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For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit http://www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @City_of_Atlanta. Follow Mayor Reed on Facebook and Twitter @Kasim Reed.