Delaware joined the national effort to house homeless veterans in 2015
WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced on Thursday that Delaware has now housed more than 500 formerly homeless veterans since joining the national Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in 2015.
“Our veterans served because of a heartfelt duty to country. We owe them a similar sacred duty, and Delaware has stepped up and achieved something truly remarkable,” said Governor Carney. “Good, safe, stable housing is vital to so much in our lives, and the work of our partners and supporters helping finding homes for more veterans has made a real difference.”
In 2015, Delaware joined the national Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, committing the state, leaders of all three counties, and the mayors of eight towns and cities to the initiative. So far, it is one of three states and 47 counties or cities to have achieved an effective end to veteran homelessness. The Delaware State Housing Authority has led those efforts through a statewide working group to coordinate resources on behalf of veterans.
The milestone announced on Thursday demonstrates that the state’s commitment to veterans remains strong even after Delaware effectively ended veteran homelessness last fall. The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs certified in October that Delaware has a sustainable and systematic response in place to ensure that homelessness among veterans is prevented whenever possible.
“This was a true partnership and involved real teamwork to help ensure that we care for all our veterans,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “We understand that while the work will continue, today’s milestone is a huge accomplishment in that mission and toward that goal.”
Through those efforts, the state developed a process to share data; increased targeting of resources to homeless veterans with the greatest need; and improved connections between resource providers. DSHA and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services also set aside state-funded rental assistance vouchers for homeless veterans who did not qualify for federal assistance.
Partners in Delaware’s statewide initiative to end veteran homelessness included local and county governments; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs; the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services; Housing Alliance Delaware; Delaware Continuum of Care; and Supportive Services for Veterans Families providers, including Connections Community Support Programs and the Veterans Multi-Service Center.
About 300 of the housed veterans were in New Castle County, with about 100 in Kent and Sussex counties each.
“It means a whole lot. Words can’t express it,” said U.S. Marine Corps veteran Gregory Larry of Wilmington, who moved into an apartment at the Summit at Middleboro Crest in February after experiencing homelessness, working through the VA and Connections CSP. “I was grateful that I had the chance to meet the people that I met, because it has really helped me a lot. Living in the streets isn’t a joke.”
“Every member of our community deserves a safe and affordable place to live,” said New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer. “Stable and permanent housing provides the foundation on which to build a better life, and I am proud of our private-sector landlords, non-profit partners, and public housing agencies who together found a way to meet this milestone. By doing so, and especially by continuing this work, we honor the service and sacrifice of our neighbors who have given so much for us.”
“Delawareans have joined forces to transform words into deeds to help establish a brighter future for our veterans,” said Bill Farley, chairman of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs. “This milestone is a tremendous accomplishment, and highlights the many ways veterans’ lives are improved when they have stable and secure housing.”
For photos from the announcement, click here.