|HUD No. 14-117
Gina Rodriguez Berinde
Follow us on Twitter @HUDMidwest
October 14, 2014
25 CITIES CHICAGO BEGINS PUSH TO END VETERAN HOMELESSNESS
CHICAGO - "25 Cities Chicago," the local initiative to end veteran and chronic homelessness in the community by 2015, is now providing permanent housing for former members of our military who have been living on the City's streets. The first veteran who is experiencing homelessness has been placed in a fully furnished apartment in Chicago, and organizers are vowing an intense strategy and effort to provide homes for the rest by the end of next year.
Last month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City's Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) formally announced the formation of the 25 Cities Chicago partnership that includes the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA); All Chicago; and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH).
"No one who has who fought to defend their country should struggle to find a home," said Mayor Emanuel during the announcement. "We will keep faith with our veterans by making the investments needed to ensure that no veteran remains homeless in Chicago. I am proud to embark on this effort to end veteran homelessness as we know it in the City of Chicago by 2015."
Antonio R. Riley, HUD Midwest Regional Administrator, added, "It is simply unacceptable that we should have homeless veterans after all they have sacrificed for our country. While we have made significant strides, our cross-collaboration will build upon our successes and maximize our impact. Not only is breaking silos to help homeless veterans the right thing to do, it is also the most fiscally sound approach."
According to advocates, ending veteran homelessness in Chicago will require nearly $5 million annually to provide subsidized housing, supportive services, and other forms of assistance. They note this figure is "a bargain" when compared to the high monetary and societal costs of providing emergency care and services to homeless people who cycle from shelters to hospitals and other institutions and then back to the streets again. In addition to being a more cost-effective way to address veteran homelessness, more than 80 percent of the funding for 25 Cities Chicago will come from the federal government. Mayor Emanuel's 2015 budget will invest more than $800,000 and close the gap on the remaining needs.
The City's investment will support three dozen permanent supportive housing units, social service case management services to match individuals with the right housing options, and rapid rehousing support such as rental subsidies for another 70 veterans. The total investment will allow Chicago to meet the national challenge laid down by President Barack Obama to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.
"We know the formula blending supportive housing with quick action and intense services is the solution because we have witnessed a 33% reduction nationally in veteran homelessness over the past few years," said Betsy Benito, Director of CSH in Illinois and a 25 Cities Chicago partner. "We applaud Mayor Emanuel for his vision in building a strategic and sustainable plan that will meet the goal of ending veteran homelessness in this community, and look forward to lending our expertise to ensure success."
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @HUDnews or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.