U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro says San Antonio has now joined Philadelphia, Houston, and several other major cities in effectively ending veteran homelessness.
“This is does not mean that there will literally never be a night where a veteran is on the street. It means that if a veteran ever does become homeless there is a system in place to immediately make sure that he or she gets permanent housing.” said Castro
Castro, once mayor of San Antonio, joined current Mayor Ivy Taylor at city hall for the announcement.
Castro says the city has helped homeless veterans through a process that identifies them by name and then provides access to shelter; job-training; housing placement; and other services that may be offered by through partners. Castro acknowledges there are still those who refuse assistance.
San Antonio’s program to end veteran homeless began in January of 2015 when Mayor Taylor took First Lady Michelle Obama’s challenge. Since then 1,300 homeless vets have been placed into permanent housing. Taylor says the effort will continue.
“It’s a process in order for us to maintain functional zero where we’re really seeking to ensure every veteran has a place to stay,” she adds
Community partners for the effort include: USAA; the South Alamo Regional Alliance for Homelessness; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; the Bexar Housing Authority; and the San Antonio Housing Authority. The city says it takes about 46 days to find permanent housing for a homeless vet.