FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Ashley Simmons, Office of the Mayor
Mary Gaertner, City of Charlotte
Suzanne Jeffries, Mecklenburg County
Charlotte, NC — In celebration of Veterans Day, representatives from the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that they will join the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, an energized effort to solidify partnerships and secure commitments to end veteran homelessness by 2015.
The Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness was first announced by First Lady Michelle Obama and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary (HUD) on June 4, 2014, as they called on mayors across the nation to make a commitment to end veteran homelessness in their cities by 2015.
It is now promoted by leaders from several agencies including the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National League of Cities.
During today’s announcement, the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center formally accepted the challenge through the introduction and implementation of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Our Heroes initiative. This initiative seeks to house Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s 204 homeless veterans by Dec. 31, 2015. The January 2014 Point-In-Time count, a yearly single-day effort to provide an accounting and snapshot of a community’s homeless population, helped determine the number of homeless veterans for this initiative.
“There is no better day for us to accept the challenge,” said Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter. “The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have already been working together with community partners to provide housing for veterans since July. To date, we’re proud to say we’ve housed 55 veterans.”
The ‘Housing Our Heroes’ initiative is a collaborative effort between leaders from the City, County, Department of Veterans Affairs, Charlotte Housing Authority, Charlotte Bridge Home, Community Link, Supportive Housing Communities, Salvation Army, Urban Ministry Center, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, Crisis Assistance Ministry, Goodwill Industries of the Southern, Piedmont, Alston Wilkes, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry, Family Endeavors, and Crisis Assistance Ministry.
“Providing access to safe, affordable housing for veterans and their families who are homeless is a worthy goal for our community," Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners Chairman Trevor M. Fuller said. "We have a plan and the right partners to help identify the veterans. We need the support of landlords, property managers, employers and everyone in the community to be successful."
The ‘Housing Our Heroes’ efforts are directly connected to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. The efforts have shifted from a shelter-based model of assisting the homeless, to a housing-based model that offers permanent stability for these individuals and families.
“Ending veteran homelessness has been a VA goal for a number of years now, but we would be unable to reach this goal without the dedication and support of our community partners,” said Salisbury VA Medical Center Director Kaye Green. “We are overjoyed to seize the momentum that has been building throughout Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to end veteran homelessness and be an active partner in this campaign.”
To learn more about the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Our Heroes campaign, and ways you can help, please visit HousingOurHeroes.charmeck.org.