New Orleans Ends City’s Veteran Homelessness Issue

In early January 2015, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the city has ended the issue of chronic veteran homelessness. The great news came ahead of schedule. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the White House came together in 2010 to create an initiative to completely eliminate the issue by the end of 2015.

In 2014, there were an estimated 193 homeless veterans on the streets of NOLA, according to a count. On the Fourth of July, the Mayor pledged to finding each and every vet a place to live.

This was accomplished by bring together multiple organizations and agencies that had not collaborated previously. With this team work, the city was able to exceed their goal and house 227 veterans within 6 months.

The city of New Orleans claims that it will be able to find a home for a homeless veteran within an average of 30 days with the new system. Once a homeless veteran is identified, one of the partners, such as Unity of Greater New Orleans, contacts the VA’s Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program. The program then confirms that the homeless person is actually a veteran, evaluates the mental and physical health, and then provides rental assistance for up to 5 months.

During that time, the city and advocacy groups look for permanent housing options through the VA’s voucher program or the Housing Authority of New Orleans.

“Veteran homelessness is an important and challenging issue … but the work of ending veteran homelessness is never really done,” said Landrieu. “That’s why we have also created a new and sustainable rapid response model that combines all available local, state and federal resources with the work of our local active duty and former military personnel — utilizing veterans to help veterans.”

The success of New Orleans’ further confirms that focusing on housing first is the most effective way to end homelessness.

According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 49,993 veterans were homeless as of January 2014, which is a 33% drop since 2010.

A few of the cities who have also successfully ended veteran homelessness include Phoenix, AZ and Salt Lake City.

At least 312 Mayors have joined Michelle Obama, the first lady, in the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. “[Veteran homelessness is] a stain on the soul of this nation,” Michelle Obama stated in July at a conference for homelessness, according to AP. “[The] idea that anyone who has worn our country’s uniform spends their nights sleeping on the ground should horrify us.”

The Archuleta Law Firm handles injury, death, and veterans medical malpractice claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act. We handle claims in all 50 States and Worldwide. Our focus is helping Veterans, and the families of Veterans and Military Service Members in their claims involving Veterans (VA) Hospitals, Doctors and Clinics and Military Hospitals, Doctors and Clinics. We handle claims involving the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force.

Source: Huffington Post