Advancing National Service

Phoenix Just Became the First City to End Chronic Veteran Homelessness. Here’s How

December 31, 2013
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Phoenix Just Became the First City to End Chronic Veteran Homelessness. Here’s How
Allison Shelley/Getty Images
A key program houses veterans without requiring them to be sober first.

Phoenix declared victory last week in the fight against chronic homelessness among veterans. The city’s effort began three years ago when officials identified 222 homeless veterans living within its boundaries. Using federal and state money, the city provided housing for each veteran, including 56 who were placed just last Wednesday. Notably, the city housed veterans even if they weren’t sober or drug free first — the idea being that anyone with a substance problem would begin the recovery process more easily once they had a stable place to live. (A similar project is underway in Utah.)

MORE: If you want to hire someone to help the homeless, why not the formerly homeless?

Phoenix represents a major milestone in the Obama administration’s ongoing initiative to end chronic homelessness in veterans across the country by 2015. At last count, there were still 57,849 homeless veterans in the United States. That figure indicates a 24% decline over the last four years, but a lot of work clearly remains.

AND: This hero isn’t just alleviating homelessness; he’s preventing it.

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