Mayor Walsh commits to house Boston's Homeless veterans by 2015
July 9, 2014
The initiative, entitled “Boston Homes for the Brave,” seeks to house Boston’s 400 homeless veterans, and is a part of the federal Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. Today’s announcement was held at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. At today’s announcement, Mayor Walsh challenged the Boston real estate community and business leaders to step up to the plate to help veterans find a safe place to call home.
“One of the biggest barriers for a returning veteran is finding safe, affordable housing and securing employment,” Mayor Walsh said. “Today, I am asking Boston’s real estate community to join us in our fight to provide affordable rental units for our heroes. If you are a landlord you please list your available rental units. If you are an employer, please list a job on our new website. No one who has served our country should be homeless – and in Boston, we’re doing everything we can to ensure that they won’t be.”
The Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness was announced by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House on June 4, 2014, as she called on mayors across the nation to make a commitment to ending veterans’ homelessness in their cities by 2015. To date, more than 100 other mayors have joined the challenge. Boston has housed 250 veterans to date this year.
The City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development, the Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Housing Authority, and Office of Veterans Affairs are joining the effort, along with community leaders in the New England Center for Homeless Veterans and the Pine Street Inn, as well as state and federal partners including the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services, the U.S. Interagency on Homelessness, and the Veterans Administration.
Today’s announcement was part of a two-day conference at which participants will begin putting together the technologies and strategies that will help identify veterans, reach out to them, and connect them to supports, housing and employment.
“With our partners, we will identify every homeless vet in the city and assess their individual needs,” Mayor Walsh said. “Achieving a stable housing situation is about more than finding affordable rent. It requires wrap-around services that can include substance abuse treatment; mental and physical healthcare; education, training, and jobs. We have the right partners in place to make these connections. And we will draw on the mentorship of veterans who have been through these struggles before. But if we are truly to make veterans homelessness a thing of the past, we need the entire city pulling together.”
Donations are also being accepted through the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter alliance for a fund that helps veterans pay for move in costs, furniture and other basic household items once they move in. Donors can find the link for donations at www.mhsa.net.