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Delaware close to ending veteran homelessness


Delaware won't meet its goal to house all homeless veterans within 2015, but they're close to the mark heading into the new year.

The First State joined First Lady Michelle Obama's national challenge to end veteran homelessness in May. Since last January, 282 homeless veterans have been identified in Delaware. The state managed to place 60 percent of them in permanent housing. The rest are in temporary housing. As of December 19, there were still four unsheltered veterans.

In late October, Gov. Jack Markell announced a push to permanently house 96 homeless veterans by the end of January. It coincides with the annual Point-in-Time count of the state’s homeless. So far, that initiative has put 29 homeless veterans in permanent housing.

Marlena Gibson, director of planning and policy for the state housing authority, said their efforts don’t stop at just housing all 282 vets.

“Part of our goal is not just getting the veterans who are currently homeless, but making the systems changes that can place homeless veterans in housing quickly," said Gibson. "It’s not just about being able to get to zero but about the long-term."

Connecticut was the first state to end chronic veteran homelessness in August. Chronic refers to people who are repeatedly homeless or have been without shelter for a long time.

But Virginia was the first state to functionally end veteran homelessness in November. That means the state was able to house all homeless people, chronic or otherwise, except for those who declined shelter.

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