The city of Atlanta has long set a goal to end veteran homelessness. Now, the city said it’s close to achieving it.
Ending veteran homelessness is a federal designation cities or states can earn. Cathryn Marchman, executive director of Partners for H.O.M.E., said the city will soon be applying.
To get the status, the city has to meet a number of benchmarks, which include identifying homeless veterans and showing that Atlanta has the capacity to place them in housing.
“When veterans go homeless and we find them or they come to us, we have a place for them. There’s no real waiting list,” said Craig Burnette, describing the idea behind the status.
Burnette worked on homelessness at the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department for years, but is not involved in Atlanta’s efforts.
He cautioned that one of the key challenges is sustaining the safety net for homeless veterans, which requires a lot of resources.
“Do you still have the ability to go out, find those veterans and put them in housing not only in November in 2016 but in 2017, 2018?” said Burnette.
If Atlanta’s application goes through, it would join the ranks of cities like Houston and the state of Virginia.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing, about 360 veterans were in shelters or on Atlanta streets in January – nearly half what it was the year before.
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