In support of the Homeless Veteran Stand Down Thursday, Oct. 16, Mayor Steve Bach announced he will accept the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, a call to action to mayors across the country to make a commitment to ending veteran homelessness in their cities in 2015.
“We have seen a significant decline in the number of homeless veterans, thanks to the efforts of our many local partners,” Bach said. “Colorado Springs is fortunate to be home for so many veterans. It is only right to help provide a warm and safe place for those who have served our nation.”
The goal of the challenge is to quickly place homeless veterans in transitional or permanent housing and to connect homeless veterans to available services.
“I am proud to support Colorado Springs and Mayor Bach in the decision to join over 240 mayors and city officials in the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness,” said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Rick Garcia. “As the second largest city in Colorado with a large veteran population, their efforts to build on the progress they have made by strengthening collaboration with local partners will bring us closer to giving every veteran a safe, affordable place to call home.”
In the past two years, through the combined effort of local partners, the community has seen a significant decline in the number of homeless veterans, according to a press release sent by the city. Of the 230 homeless veterans counted in 2012, 108 identified as unsheltered. In 2014, that number has thus far been reduced to 145 homeless veterans with 46 identifying as unsheltered. By joining forces with the Continuum of Care and veteran service providers, Colorado Springs aims to achieve the following goals by the end of 2015:
- House 100 veterans.
- Reduce to 30 the number of unsheltered veterans counted in the Point in Time Count in 2016.
- Build capacity to rapidly house every homeless veteran.
“Every instance where one of the brave men and women who’ve served our nation experiences homelessness is both a human tragedy and a community failure,” said Jenn Lopez, director of homeless initiatives for Gov. John Hickenlooper, whose administration was one of four to join the Veteran Challenge. “Colorado commends the City of Colorado Springs for joining us in this historic effort; together we can ensure that all veterans have access to the housing and services they’ve earned.”