Mayor Michael Nutter made an auspicious declaration today: Philadelphia has effectively eliminated homelessness among veterans.
Flanked by Julián Castro, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Nutter said the city has met President Barack Obama's challenge to help end veteran homelessness by 2015.
"Today, I am happy to report that homelessness among veterans in Philadelphia is now rare, brief and non-recurring," Nutter remarked. "In other words, Philadelphia has effectively ended veteran homelessness for those who want a home."
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That parsing of Nutter's words is important: It's not that homeless veterans no longer exist in Philadelphia, just that services are now in place to where veterans can now more easily access vital resources.
City officials say they collaborated with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and other stakeholders to rise to Obama's challenge. "This coalition of agencies is known as PhillyVetsHome," the city explained, saying that the program has helped 1,390 to date.
"Too often, veterans find themselves struggling with issues like homelessness and poverty, and that is a shame," Nutter added. "For those who gave so much of themselves to this nation, there is no reason why they should be left out in the cold."