The Crescent City is the first in the United States to radically reduce homelessness among veterans in a lauded, hopefully permanent solution.
Photo of a homeless man in New Orleans via Flickr user UnknownNet Photography
New Orleans has taken a giant step toward eradicating veteran homelessness. The Crescent City is one of 312 U.S. cities that pledged to end veteran homelessness this year and on January 2 the last known homeless veteran in the city was moved into his new apartment.
“I am honored and very pleased to report that we have housed 227 veterans, exceeding our goal of 193, thanks to the hard work of our committed partners," said 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.”
It all started with The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, announced by First Lady Michelle Obama and HUD Secretary Julián Castro last year. In response, the city of New Orleans assembled a group of non-profits, government agencies, service members, veterans, homeless shelters, and other organizations and got to work. Not only have they managed to house existing homeless veterans, the city has established a system to avoid future instances of homelessness for the city's veterans, including a quick-response protocol for those in danger of losing their housing.
"In the future, homelessness among New Orleans veterans should be rare and brief," said Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. "Every city and town in America should take a look at New Orleans and say, ‘if they can do it, so can we.’”