Virginia is the first state in the nation to “functionally end” veteran homelessness statewide, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced during a Nov. 11 ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial.
The end to veteran homelessness in Virginia means that veterans have been identified, offered services, and a system is in place to offer them help if and when they require it, NBC 12 reports.
Last year, the state of Virginia made a commitment to helping veterans, and has come through on their promise.
“We talk about building the entire package for folks, so that we get you off the street. We need to make sure that we can get you into housing, we gotta make sure we have the healthcare resources for ya,” McAuliffe said.
The General Assembly allocated $500,000 to combat veteran homelessness.
“We don't wait for veterans to come in seeking services. We go out to them,” Kelly King Horne, Executive Director of Homeward, an agency to end homelessness, explained.
In a Nov. report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2,000 homeless veterans were taken off the streets nationwide from 2014 to 2015, Military Times reports.
President Obama said government efforts have helped “tens of thousands of our veterans get off the streets” over the past five years.
There is still more work to be done across the nation.
As of January 2015, there were about 48,000 homeless veterans across the country; a decline of around 2,000 since January 2014. In 2010, there were an estimated 75,000 homeless veterans.
Cities that claim to have “effectively” ended veterans homelessness are Houston, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Salt Lake City, due to the assistance programs and shelters they have to help veterans in need.