Published on January 7, 2015
NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that New Orleans is the first major city in the nation to end homelessness among Veterans as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. Members of the New Orleans Interagency Council on Homelessness as well as Veterans, service members, military leaders, national homelessness advocates and partners from the federal government joined Landrieu at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans to announce and celebrate the city’s historic milestone.
“Six months ago on Independence Day, we came together to pay homage to our service members and Veterans who courageously serve our great nation and announced our goal to effectively end Veteran homelessness in New Orleans by the end of 2014,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “I am honored and very pleased to report that we have housed 227 Veterans, exceeding our goal of 193, thanks to the hard work of our committed partners. New Orleans is now the first major city in the nation to answer the President and First Lady’s call to end veteran homelessness – and we did so one year earlier than the federal goal. We owe our Veterans our eternal gratitude for their service and sacrifice to this nation, and making sure they have a place to call home is a small but powerful way we can show our appreciation.”
The ambitious effort began in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, which challenged communities to end Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. To date, 312 mayors, six governors, and 71 other county or city officials from across the United States have accepted the challenge.
According to the HUD 2014 Homeless Point in Time Survey conducted by UNITY of Greater New Orleans, 193 individuals were counted to be homeless Veterans in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. As a part of the Mayors Challenge, Mayor Landrieu put together a coalition of nonprofits, homeless service providers, U.S. service members and Veterans, and federal, state, and local agencies – a coalition that has now permanently housed 227 homeless Veterans in New Orleans.
“Veteran homelessness is an important and challenging issue, and we are very proud of our accomplishment today in New Orleans, but the work of ending Veteran homelessness is never really done,” said Landrieu. “That’s why we have also created a new and sustainable rapid response model that combines all available local, state, and federal resources with the work of our local active duty and former military personnel – utilizing Veterans to help Veterans. I hope our model here in New Orleans can be replicated nationwide so that we can end Veteran homelessness in America once and for all.”
“I want to congratulate Mayor Landrieu and the entire City of New Orleans for turning its commitment to end Veteran homelessness into a reality,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “As one of the first cities to achieve this noble goal, New Orleans is helping lead a national campaign to make certain that these brave Americans have a place to call home. At HUD, we stand ready to assist in bringing this kind of progress to cities across the country, fulfilling our commitment to all those who served our country so courageously.”