Officials from the departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) joined the mayor and representatives of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Continuum of Care (CoC) on April 25 to celebrate the effective end of Veteran homelessness in Lexington, Kentucky.
Lexington joins more than 65 other communities and three states — Connecticut, Delaware and Virginia — that have effectively ended Veteran homelessness, identifying every homeless Veteran by name and implementing systems to put them on the path to permanent housing.
“The progress achieved by Lexington is a direct reflection of the power of collaboration at the local, state and national levels,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “As each new community effectively ends Veteran homelessness, it is further proving that the strategies we are using to help the most vulnerable Veterans become housed are working. Congratulations to Mayor Linda Gorton and everyone in Lexington who had a hand in ensuring the women and men who bravely served our country have a place to call home.”
Achieving an end to homelessness is a victory for Lexington-Fayette Urban County Continuum of Care CoC — the local homeless services planning body —made possible because of joint efforts with many different organizations, including the Lexington Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention; area homeless service providers; Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs; VA; HUD; emergency shelters; and a host of other private, public and nonprofit organizations.
HUD and VA have worked aggressively to help homeless Veterans secure stable housing through the strategic use of HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers and alignment with Home Together, the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.
Since 2010, the combined efforts of HUD and VA have helped cut Veteran homelessness nearly in half, including a 5% decline between January 2017 to January 2018. Since 2010, more than 700,000 Veterans and their family members have been permanently housed or prevented from becoming homeless nationwide because of interventions by HUD and VA.
The achievement in Lexington does not mean that Veterans may not become homeless in the future in the community. However, it does means that HUD, VA and the US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) have affirmed that Lexington has an infrastructure in place to quickly help Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness secure or remain in permanent housing.
Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless can contact their local VA medical center, where VA staff are ready to assist. They can also call 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).
Visit www.va.gov/homeless to find out how to help prevent and end homelessness among Veterans.