Multi-county plan to end veteran homelessness touted a success

From: US Interagency Council on Homelessness

The first multi-county plan to effectively end veteran homelessness in Pennsylvania was touted as a success by officials on Friday.

Gov. Tom Wolf said the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs confirmed that the Western Pennsylvania Continuum of Care (Western PA CoC) has effectively ended homelessness for veterans in Crawford County and 19 other counties in western Pennsylvania.

“With this announcement, the U.S. government has verified and affirmed that the Western PA CoC, through its efforts, will continue to ensure veteran homelessness is a rare, brief, and one-time occurrence,” Wolf said. “It has been my goal since I took office to reduce veteran homelessness and we have made progress. It is my hope that the example set by the Western PA CoC becomes a model and inspiration for the rest of the state so we can end veteran homelessness commonwealth-wide.”

The Western PA CoC governing board worked collaboratively with other groups to identify homeless veterans and provide them with immediate access to housing by using a Housing First model, creating a sustainable infrastructure for housing, and increasing and streamlining the availability of permanent housing and support services, officials said.

Crawford County Commissioner John Amato said veteran homelessness is a concern in the county.

“The problem is out there,” he said.

A veteran of both the U.S. Army and in the U.S. Air Force Reserve with a combined 28 years of active and reserve service, Amato welcomed the announcement that the problem had been effectively ended, but he also expressed hope that continued effort would be expended to maintain the situation.

“I hope it holds true,” he said. “I’ve seen so many programs that are supposed to do what politicians want them to do, but because of their cumbersome nature, it makes it so hard for a guy who has nothing to navigate.”

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