unnamedU.S. Housing and Urban Development Midwest Regional Administrator Antonio R. Riley thanked local officials for their commitment to end veteran homelessness in the Midwest region by the end of 2015.

At a convening in HUD’s Chicago Regional Office on February 6th, numerous officials from Washington, DC, local officials, non-profit organizations and regional federal agencies gathered to discuss strategies for eliminating homelessness among veterans throughout the region. Jennifer Ho, Senior Advisor to the HUD Secretary and longstanding national expert on homelessness shared her expertise as did representatives from Veteran’s Affairs, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the National League of Cities. Attendees exchanged ideas regarding promising practices. HUD’s 2014 homelessness data reveals that in our region 5,154 veterans are without a place to call home including Illinois (1,234), Indiana (725), Michigan(1,122), Minnesota (317), Ohio (1,236), Wisconsin (520); and 49,933 nationally.

“Working in close partnership with states, counties and cities, we have seen a 33 percent decline in veterans experiencing homelessness nationwide, but there’s more to do,” said Riley. “This week’s regional Mayors Challenge convening gave local officials an opportunity to hear firsthand how cities across the country are successfully addressing the issues. They were equipped with resources and practices that can help them make real progress in ending veterans’ homelessness in their communities.”

The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness is a collaborative effort being led by HUD, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and National League of Cities. Announced by First Lady Michelle Obama on June 6, 2014, the Challenge is a call to action to get local officials involved in eradicating veterans’ homelessness in their cities by the end of 2015.

“Mayors have the power to lead their communities to end homelessness among veterans before the end of 2015, and we are proud to support their incredible commitment and leadership,” said Matthew Doherty, Interim Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “The Mayors Challenge roundtable offered a great opportunity for federal, state, and local community leaders to come together and solidify the partnerships that are key to achieving our shared goal.”

“The path toward ending veteran homelessness goes through cities,” said Clarence Anthony, Executive Director of the National League of Cities. “NLC is proud to join with our federal partners to help local leaders better understand and utilize the resources available. Regional forums such as these offer city officials a unique opportunity to share and learn about best practices while improving the relationships with key stakeholders, which are necessary to ensure all veterans have a place to call home.”

Nationally, to date, 442 officials have pledged to end homelessness among veterans in their communities, using the power of federal, state, local, and non-profit resources. A memorandum of understanding calls for HUD and the NLC to jointly develop and execute regional forums to raise the awareness and understanding of the benefits of joining the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. In the HUD Midwest region, 41 officials have made a commitment to support the effort (see list).

“I consider it an honor and privilege to be at the table to discuss real measures to combat veteran homelessness,” said Mayor Freeman-Wilson. “HUD has set an aggressive timeline, and we are on board in the City of Gary to do our part to help. Veterans risked their lives to protect us, helping ensuring shelter for them is the least we can do.”

Rockford, Illinois Mayor, Lawrence Morrissey indicated, “I was inspired and energized by my recent participation in the HUD Region V Convening. The case studies and best practices that were shared provide a concrete and manageable framework that will help our community meet our goal of ending Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.”

U.S. Department of Housing & urban Development

U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness

Veteran Affairs

Participants by State, City, locality

Illinois State of Illinois
Cook County
Rockford(Winnebago & Boone County)
Suburban Cook County
St. Claire County
Indiana Gary(Lake County)
Ohio Youngstown
Michigan Flint/Genesee
Minnesota State of Minnesota
Wisconsin State of Wisconsin
Madison / Dane County