Regional Administrator Holly Leicht Announces Long Island has Effectively Ended Veterans Homelessness

[Photo: Regional Administrator Leicht, flanked by County officials and homeless advocates, announces the completion of the Mayors Challenge on Long Island.]
Regional Administrator Leicht, flanked by County officials and homeless advocates, announces the completion of the Mayors Challenge on Long Island.

On Friday, July 15, Regional Administrator Holly Leicht joined County Officials, and HUD-funded homeless service providers at Liberty Houses in Amityville to announce that Long Island completed the Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness. That means across both Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the systems and resources are in place to quickly offer services and housing to any homeless veteran in need. Long Island joins Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Troy, Schenectady, and Saratoga Springs in New York, as well as two states and 20 other jurisdictions across the country to meet the Mayor's Challenge goal.

"Thanks to the efforts of those gathered here, 1,000 formerly homeless veterans on Long Island now have a place to call home," said Holly Leicht, HUD's Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. "Through collaboration at every level of government, bolstered by the hard work of nonprofit partners providing 'boots on the ground' services, and innovative strategies like Housing First, we are implementing a proven model for ending homelessness nationwide – and not just for veterans, but also for families, children, and ultimately all homeless individuals."

HUD has allocated over 450 housing vouchers targeted to homeless veterans to Long Island since 2008, along with approximately $10 million in annual funding for the Long Island Continuum of Care (CoC). Lead by the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless (, the CoC is a consortium of homeless services providers and advocates that enthusiastically embraced the benchmark's laid out in Opening Doors (, the federal government's first comprehensive and interagency plan to end homelessness nationwide.

In June 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama provided a boost to the Opening Doors goals by announcing the Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness. By asking local leaders to commit to the Opening Doors goal, the First Lady galvanized support across the country that is showing remarkable results. In Long Island, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone both accepted the challenge, as did Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone and Village of Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall.

Nassau County created 42 homes for veterans and their families at Mitchel Field, and helped rehabilitate five 2-bedroom townhouses in Hempstead for formerly homeless veterans and their families. Several veterans-oriented programs of the Nassau County Department of Social Services, the Veterans Service Agency and the Nassau County Department of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities further support the availability of immediate shelter, long-term housing, employment and counseling services for veterans.

Suffolk County passed the "Housing Our Homeless Heroes" Act, a set of four bills to help homeless veterans access permanent housing and essential resources. Included in this Act is a provision to rehabilitate abandoned homes for the creation of safe, affordable housing for veterans. Ten houses are currently being developed under the first phase of this bill. Further, VSO officers are now available to assist veterans in navigating the local Social Services system to ensure they are able to receive benefits in a timely manner.

The announcement took place at Liberty Houses, a beautiful development exclusively for veterans constructed on the site of a former military base. Learn more about the Mayors Challenge and HUD's homelessness resources on HUD's website.


Content Archived:January 18, 2018