Mayor John Giles announced that he has accepted the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness and introduced Councilmember Chris Glover and Councilmember Kevin Thompson as co-chairs of the initiative.
"I'm proud to join Mayors across the country as we work toward the important goal of honoring the service of our veterans by making sure all of them have a home to call their own," Mayor John Giles said. "By focusing our resources and maximizing our communities' commitment, we can end veteran homelessness in our community and our country."
Working together with non-profit organizations like A New Leaf, Save the Family, MARC Center and Community Bridges, Mesa can end veteran homelessness in 2015 and have a program in place that can support our veterans into the future.
"Our community partners are already working diligently to help Mesa's homeless veterans. I look forward to pulling their resources together and building a program that allows any veteran facing homelessness the opportunity to find a home," Councilmember Chris Glover said. "As a community we are committed to ending chronic veteran homelessness by the end of this year. Those who fight to protect our freedom abroad should never be left without a home. They fought for our homes and now we will fight for theirs."
Along with our community partners the City of Mesa assists homeless veterans by providing Veterans Affairs Supporting Housing (VASH) vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which provide rental assistance while the Veterans Administration (VA) offers case management and clinic services.
In addition to the vouchers, the City of Mesa started a veterans court that is available twice a month so veterans can get faster service and have access to resources specific to their need. This includes information on housing.
"As a veteran, I understand the motto of taking care of our own. As America's deployments draw down and our troops start returning home, it's easy for any number of our men or women to slip through the cracks and fall into despair. That's why this is a cause very near and dear to my heart. As a community, and as a Nation, we need to stand up and take care of those that have kept us safe from harm's way," Councilmember Kevin Thompson said. "I am proud of what measures the City of Mesa has already taken and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we fight to end veteran homelessness."
Since 2010, when the federal government launched Opening Doors, a strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, there has been a 33 percent reduction on homelessness among veterans. This reduction has been achieved through a partnership between the federal government, local governments, non-profits and the private sector - making the elimination of veteran homelessness an achievable goal.
Contact: Melissa Randazzo