Minneapolis and St. Paul are taking part in a challenge with Columbus, Ohio and Des Moines, Iowa to end homelessness among veterans by 2015.
Mayor Betsy Hodges joined St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Cathy ten Broeke, the state’s point person on ending homelessness, on Friday at the Minneapolis VA Community Resource and Referral Center in the Loring Park neighborhood to announce the initiative.
The Twin Cities has about 200 veterans experiencing homelessness and there are roughly 350 homeless veterans statewide, according to a statement released by Hodges’ office. Fifteen percent stay at St. Paul’s Dorothy Day Center.
“It is unconscionable that those who served our country in the armed services should find themselves out of a home,” Coleman said in a statement. “Together as a region we will spend the next year doing whatever it takes to make sure our veterans have a place to live in dignity.”
Hodges agreed. “All people, especially our veterans, deserve a home. I am proud to be partnering with Saint Paul in taking on this challenge,” she said. “We have made significant progress over recent years through our joint work with Hennepin County, but there is still much to do. Ending veteran homelessness is the work of the entire community.”
It has taken the efforts of many housing and service providers to get the point where ending homelessness is an achievable goal, ten Broeke said.
“We are pledging to work together to rapidly finish the job of ending homelessness for each veteran and to remove the barriers that remain in their way,” she said.
Between 2009 and 2013, homelessness among veterans decreased 52 percent in Hennepin County.
Community leaders will work with veterans on an individual basis to determine the best options for housing.