McAuliffe: Va. is first state to 'effectively end' veteran homelessness
Virginia provided housing to 1,432 homeless veterans last year, more than double the 620 identified in January as part of an annual one-day count of the homeless.
That qualifies Virginia as the first state in the country to effectively end veteran homelessness, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Wednesday during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial.
State and federal leaders acknowledge that the achievement, known technically as a “functional” end to homelessness, doesn’t mean that no veterans in the state are without shelter.
But it’s still a tremendous achievement, they say, that the state now provides housing to more veterans during the year than the number identified during the annual January homelessness count.
McAuliffe promised that for any veterans who find themselves homeless in Virginia in the future, “it will be a rare, nonrecurring experience and brief.”
“We cannot stop here. This is not a one-time effort,” McAuliffe told the crowd of hundreds gathered at the War Memorial’s amphitheater. “We have an obligation to take care of them and their families.”
The governor challenged all Virginians to help make sure veterans don’t fall through the cracks. Anyone who knows a homeless veteran, he said, can start the process by calling 211 to alert the state so it can begin to help.
Julian Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also spoke at the event, relating that during an hour-long meeting with McAuliffe earlier Wednesday morning, the governor told him about 101 times that Virginia is the greatest state in the country.
“Today, y’all have a strong claim to that,” he said. “Virginia truly is showing that we can meet this challenge.”
This is a major accomplishment that all of our States need to reach for.
All of our Veterans deserve the right to free medical, discounted if not free housing. They should never be homeless on the streets with nothing to eat, no warm dry place to lay their head at night and clean clothes.
I come from a military family and I am proud of that. The State of Virginia should be very proud of what they accomplished.