Homeless veterans getting help from initiative

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 27, 2014

Stakeholders for the “Acceleration to Housing 100 in 100 days” initiative, also known as “100 Homes for the Holidays,” announced Jan. 17 that they are continuing to successfully house chronically homeless members of the Charlotte community.
A collaborative team of the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center, non-profit organizations, local veteran organizations, city and county government and the Charlotte Housing Authority completed another 100-day phase of an accelerated housing initiative for the chronically homeless in late December. From Sept. 7, 2013, to Dec. 17, 2013, 150 individuals, including 26 veterans, were housed.
Salisbury VA Medical Center Director Kaye Green said programs like “100 Homes for the Holidays” provide a much-needed service for homeless veterans.
“No veteran who has served this nation and defended our freedoms should ever have to live on the streets. It’s our obligation, to all of our nation’s veterans facing homelessness, to help them get back on the path to a productive and fulfilling life,” she said. “However, no one single entity can do this alone; we all have to work together as a community to make this happen.”
“In the Charlotte area, we are grateful for our community partners who have stepped up and played such a vital role in our effort to eliminate homelessness, and particularly homelessness among our nation’s veterans,” added Green.
Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon added to Green’s sentiments. “It’s heartening to see the growing success of this initiative,” said Cannon. “This is just one part of a broader community effort to ensure that some of Charlotte’s most vulnerable citizens have the opportunity to be housed and receive the support of our community service partners. This work reinforces our citywide commitment to end homelessness.”
In March of last year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg was identified as a community critical to ending chronic homelessness nationally. As part of this national initiative, the 100,000 Homes Campaign invited local stakeholders to Chicago to complete a Rapid Results Acceleration Boot Camp held by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.
With information and tools from the boot camp, community stakeholders developed goals and steps for a 100-day action plan to help put Charlotte on the path to end chronic and veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.
During the first 100 days, which ran from May 15, 2013, to Sept. 6, 2013, 167 individuals, including 15 veteran households, were housed.
This housing placement rate even garnered recognition from the 100,000 Homes Campaign Director Becky Kanis.
“Your community has housed people at an average of 2.5 percent of your baseline chronic and vulnerable population – that’s amazing. This is the difference between talking about ending homelessness and actually doing it,” said Kanis.