UPDATE: An earlier version of this post did not distinguish between homelessness and chronic homelessness.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said on Wednesday that his city has ended homelessness among veterans.
Landrieu said in a release that his is the first major city to end homelessness among veterans, though Phoenix and Salt Lake City said about a year ago that they had ended so-called chronic, or repeated, homelessness. Both are, in part, a response to an administration goal of eradicating the problem nationally by 2015. In June, first lady Michelle Obama issued a Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, an extension of that effort.
“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,” Landrieu said in a statement. “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.”
When the Department of Housing and Urban Development conducted its annual, national Point in Time Survey of homelessness last year, it identified 193 homeless veterans in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. As a result, Landrieu set a goal of housing all 193 individuals in coordination with local nonprofits, homeless service providers, current service members, veterans, and federal, state and local agencies. Ultimately, the city housed 227 homeless veterans.
As recently as November, the country seemed on track to achieve its goal of eliminating the problem by the end of this year, The Washington Post’s Robert Samuels reported in November. And a handful of cities representing the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas have made big strides toward reducing the number of homeless veterans in recent years.