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Delaware hits new milestone in housing homeless veterans

United States Interagency Council on Veteran Homelessness
States and communities that have ended veteran homelessness

Delaware has crossed another threshold in its fight to end veteran homelessness.


Gov. John Carney announced Thursday the First State has now housed more than 500 veterans since it joined the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in 2015.


“That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a veteran homeless in Delaware today. But it means we’ve put the systems in place to make sure we know who those veterans are and that they’re working to get back into permanent housing,” said Marlena Gibson, policy and planning director for the Delaware State Housing Authority.


Gibson said those systems include coordinating with the Department of Veterans Affairs and county governments to create a master list of homeless veterans in the state.


Once the vets are identified, they're paired with case managers and housing resources.


"The key to success in Delaware has been pairing veterans with case managers," said  Bill Farley, chairman of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs. 


Those case managers not only help vets find a place to live, they help connect them with resources to become productive members of society. That could be job training or alcohol and drug addiction treatment.


"The success we're seeing with this week’s milestone is a clear example of Delaware joining forces to solve a problem," Farley said. "It couldn't have happened without the cooperation of everyone involved."


This week’s milestone comes less than a year after Delaware became the third state to effectively end veteran homelessness.


“Just because we got that designation our group didn’t stop meeting. We didn’t declare it done," Gibson said.


Since the announcement last November, the state housing authority has been working with the VA and other local groups to find more permanent housing for vets by reaching out to landlords and real estate agents.


The state has also created funding systems for veterans who don’t qualify for VA services and housing support.


More than 880 mayors, city and county officials, and governors have joined the Mayors Challenge since Michelle Obama announced it in June of 2014.


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