Philly group’s goal: end veteran homelessness
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs set a date: Dec. 31, 2015.
Before the ball drops and Americans celebrate the start of 2016, the federal government wants to eradicate veteran homelessness.
“It IS a lofty goal,” said Tim Meserve, who heads the Philadelphia Veterans Multi Service & Education Center on North 4th Street in Old City. “The key is working together.”
Targeting major cities across the country, the VA named Philadelphia next in line. So Meserve teamed up with eight other organizations to form a coalition to end veteran homeless in Philadelphia by the 2015 deadline.
“We came together and laid out basically a 100-day goal, through Nov. 30,” said Meserve, a former Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. “And our plan, using our collaborative resources and reaching out to some of our other partners, is to get 225 veterans housed by 30 November, 75 of those chronic homeless veterans.”
Once the 100 days pass, the group wants to house 75 more vets through the remaining 29 months.
Their efforts are part of President Obama’s goal to end veterans homelessness in every American city. It turned into a VA goal, and then a date was set. Phoenix, AZ, is on track to end vet homelessness almost a year earlier.
The main goal is to cut down on the time it takes to get vets housed and back on their feet.
“And as a team we have a great potential to get this done and get it done to the point where we can end veteran homelessness,” Meserve said. “As we move forward there will always be people in and out, but we’re going after the hardcore, chronic homeless.”