Alexandria Recognized for Ending Veterans Homelessness
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Alexandria, La. (March 23, 2021) — Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall and Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program Coordinator Desmona Johnson of the Alexandria VA Medical Center announced Monday morning that the City of Alexandria has been formally notified it has met all criteria for ending Veteran homelessness as defined by the United States Interagency Council on Homeless (USICH), HUD and VA Central Office.
Ending Veteran homelessness means that a community has a comprehensive response in place that ensures homelessness among Veterans is prevented whenever possible, and/or Veterans are rapidly housed and provided supportive services.
“This is a significant milestone, but it doesn’t mean that our work is done,” Hall said. “We are very proud of our strong community partnerships with the Alexandria VA Health Care System’s Homeless Program, the Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition, the Alexandria Housing Authority and the Rapides Parish Housing Authority. By working together, we have been able to create an effective alliance to house at-risk Veterans or those experiencing homelessness. But we must continue to be vigilant. Veterans become homeless or at-risk of homelessness daily. While our community has resources and systems in place, we must continue to work to ensure that any local Veteran who experiences homelessness quickly receives the support they need to avoid staying on the streets and quickly move them into permanent housing. We owe each of these brave men and women that and so much more.”
The Mayor’s challenge for cities and communities across the United States to “End Veteran Homelessness” was initially established in 2014 by then First Lady Michelle Obama and then Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden.
To successfully “End Veteran Homelessness” in any community, a collaboration between federal, state, local governments, community and Veterans resources is key. In central Louisiana, Ending Veteran Homelessness was accomplished through a community collaborative process that utilized client-centered, evidence-based approaches to empower homeless Veterans to make choices, develop self-determination, and begin their individual journeys toward recovery and community integration. This effort has also been undertaken by other federal and non-profit agencies such as Community Solutions who identified strategies to reach “functional zero.”
“With our strong community partnerships created with the City of Alexandria, Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition, Alexandria VA Health Care System Homeless Program, Alexandria Housing Authority, and Rapides Parish Housing Authority, we are able to lead an effective alliance to house at-risk Veterans or those experiencing homelessness,” Johnson said. “These efforts were coordinated with Volunteers of America of Greater New Orleans, VOA Central Louisiana, VOA North Louisiana, our local Salvation Army, other community housing resources, faith-based agencies and our dedicated landlords.”
As a result of these strong partnerships and continued diligent efforts, the City of Alexandria received confirmation of being vetted through Joint Federal Agencies for “Ending Veterans’ Homelessness.”
“We do recognize that Veterans become homeless or at-risk of homelessness daily,” Johnson said. “This federal designation confirms that our community has resources and systems in place to ensure any homeless Veteran episodes is rare, brief, and non-reoccurring. This means that every Veteran has access to the support they need and want to avoid staying on the streets and can move quickly into permanent housing.”
The City of Alexandria Mayor’s Office, the Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition and the Alexandria VA Health Care System, continues to work collaboratively to ensure sustainment of this monumental accomplishment.
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