New Orleans Success Sparks Discussion of Philadelphia’s Progress

in Ending Veteran Homelessness Initiative

 

Philadelphia, PA January 9, 2015 – Earlier this week, when New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that his city has conquered the homeless veterans’ issue, members of veteran and homeless advocacy organizations in Philadelphia were reminded that our city is closer than ever to joining New Orleans in eliminating veteran homelessness.

 

"Through a ton of collaborative effort by the Veterans Multi-Service Center (VMC) and many others, we are more than 50% of the way towards the goal of ending veteran homelessness in Philadelphia.  We will fight for every vet who needs housing to find a decent affordable place to live.  It is the least we can do for their service on our behalf," said Steve Culbertson, Director of Veteran and Housing Programs at Impact Services.  

 

Culbertson, along with a team of public and private non-profit organizations, is leading Philadelphia in the VA “25 Cities Initiative” which aims to build on President Obama’s 2009 announcement to end Veteran Homelessness by 2015 by accelerating the pace and integrating efforts in the 25 communities with the largest concentrations of those experiencing homelessness. As these cities with high veteran populations successfully stamp out veteran homelessness, the once wildly ambitious goal appears all the more attainable for Philadelphia.

 

Martha Kegel, Director of UNITY, the organization that led the final push in providing housing for homeless veterans in New Orleans, shed light on how this can be achieved in priority cities, “Of course you understand that going forward, it’s not like no one is ever going to become homeless again, but it’s about having a rapid response system in place so that the number of veterans who are in homelessness at any given point is never more than what you can house that month.” The VMC and other organizations spearheading the initiative locally, are following a similar model and after tremendous progress of 2014 (including housing 620 homeless veterans), expects to end veteran homelessness in Philadelphia by the end of this year.

 

Kathy Salerno, Director of Homeless Services at the VMC, is convinced the ambitious plan to end veteran homelessness in the city is attainable, with the support of the greater community as a whole. When asked how one can help, Salerno states “while we are always looking for property owners with units to rent,   support in the form of gift cards for food items, or move-in baskets to aid veterans in transition will make the difference in accomplishing our goals.” 

 

 

About the Veteran’s Multi Service Center (VMC) –Since 1980,the VMC has existed solely to “serve those who served” this great nation and their families. We are theonly non-profit agency in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas that provides a comprehensive resource center available to all Veterans In 2014 alone, the VMC housed over 500+ veterans and families and has boosted public discussion of Veteran Homelessness through their #RewriteTheCardboard social media campaign. For more information about the VMC, visit: www.VMCenter.org

About Impact Services - For 40 years, Impact Services, a non-profit in the Kensington area of Philadelphia, has worked to address the root causes of poverty and alleviate neighborhood distress. Impact’s Veteran Services department serves over 300 veterans a year offering homeless and disadvantaged veterans comprehensive sets of housing, employment, and supportive services. For more information about Impact Services, visit www.impact.org

Anonymous - Philadelphia, PA

"I am the wife of a Viet Nam Veteran. My husband started going to PVMSEC 10 years ago for help. No mere words could ever express how much his life and in turn our family life has changed for the better in those years. I am and always will be grateful for the wonderful care he has received at the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Center & Education Center."

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