Virginia Becomes First State In The U.S. To End Veteran Homelessness


Homelessness is no longer an issue for veterans in Virginia.

On Wednesday — Veteran's Day — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro announced it as the first state to end homelessness among veterans. Over the last year, they've found 1,432 homeless veterans permanent housing. The former soldiers made up 9 percent of the state's homeless population, which stood at 7,600 people as of 2013

The success comes after McAuliffe put veteran homelessness as a priority on his agenda. The initiative, which began to take shape in 2005 with a 10-year plan, included collaborating with more than 70 service providers and public agencies to get people sustainable shelter. 

Norfolk in particular had created the Gosnold Apartments in 2006 — the country's first regionally supported community for single homeless adults. 

Hopefully other states will follow suit, given that about 49,933 veterans still lived on the streets as of January 2014. That number has gone down over the past 10 years, and Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim thinks that with federally supported programs, all states should be able to find homes for their homeless veterans as well.  

"Veteran homelessness is a social problem that can be solved," he told ABC 13. "The region came together and focused its resources to create solutions. Our efforts will continue, to ensure those who protected our freedom have a path back home."

(H/T: ThinkProgress)

Cover Image: Vera Yu and David Li via Flickr