Virginia Beach Houses 100+ Homeless Veterans

City Participates in National Initiative to End Veteran Homelessness

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. announced today that nearly 300 homeless veterans in South Hampton Roads are now either housed or on their way to housing thanks to a regional effort to end veteran homelessness. In Virginia Beach alone, 157 homeless veterans now have or will have a place to call home. The mayor made the special announcement during the Tidewater Veterans Day parade and ceremony in Virginia Beach. 

“No city wants to see anyone homeless. No city especially wants to see any veteran homeless knowing what our veterans have done for us over the years to make sure we have such a great life,” said Mayor Sessoms. “For years, we’ve been working hard to identify homeless veterans. I’m happy to say we’ve teamed up with neighboring cities to make sure that every veteran who is homeless will be housed by November 11.” 

The city and regional effort was part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015. Last year, Mayor Sessoms signed the Mayor’s Challenge committing the City of Virginia Beach to the national goal. Since then, the city, region and state have been identifying homeless veterans and making every effort to house them. 

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provided specific criteria and benchmarks communities had to meet in order to achieve the goal under the initiative. These included identifying all veterans experiencing homelessness through coordinated outreach and quickly providing shelter or permanent housing to those wanting assistance. The agencies confirmed the Commonwealth had met all criteria and achieved the goal by Veterans Day. 

“Based on our efforts over the last year, all of the homeless veterans we know about and who want assistance are either housed or in a program that will lead to housing,” said Pamela Shine, homeless programs coordinator with the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation. “Through the initiative, we have made improvements to our system of services so that homeless veterans are not only prioritized for housing programs, but we can also expect to house them within 90 days or less. Extensive coordination regionally and locally was instrumental in helping us succeed.” 

Together, the Cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Franklin, along with Isle of Wight County and Southampton County, worked with the VA, multiple nonprofit agencies and the faith community on the initiative. 

The city is continually trying to find and assist any veteran in need of housing through ongoing outreach. Homeless veterans can also contact Connection Point, the city’s central call center for homeless services, at 227-5932. 

“We plan to continue our efforts to ensure that every homeless veteran in Virginia Beach has the opportunity to have a home,” said Shine. 

For more information about the initiative to end veteran homelessness, contact Pamela Shine at 385-5761 or pshine@vbgov.com.    

View video: https://youtu.be/jL651dAPBEc​ ​

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