It is imperative that we
help the men and women
who defend our home
find their own.
It is imperative that we
MAYOR STEVE ADLER
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ISSUE, AND HOW YOU CAN HELP
We owe a lot to our veterans, and honoring them is what the upcoming Veterans Day is all about. They have sacrificed and given so much of themselves for us, but what does it mean to truly honor our vets?
How about the simple but profound assistance of helping our homeless vets — our homeless heroes — find a home?
Five years ago, the Obama administration set what some thought was an unreachable goal for an intractable problem with an unrealistic deadline: ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. My predecessor, Mayor Lee Leffingwell, accepted this challenge for Austin, and I reaffirmed our community’s commitment. Though we’re not going to get there by Veterans Day this week, we are going to finish the job and find homes for these heroes.
One homeless vet is too many. Yet many are surprised to hear how few veteran men, women and their children are on our streets. We have only about 100.
On Jan. 1, 234 homeless veterans were counted in Austin. That’s the number that needs to get to zero by the end of this year to meet the challenge from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. When the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) asked me to accept the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homeless, 200 veterans still needed housing. I immediately signed on and set an even-more ambitious goal of accomplishing this by Veterans Day.
We used to think veteran homelessness was just a fact of life, less an unsolvable problem than a hopeless condition of modern-day America. But it’s not that way at all. We can, and are, solving this problem because we’ve learned some exciting things about what Austin is capable of.
The first thing we learned is that there’s a ton of support for ending veteran homelessness. When we started the Housing Heroes program, we began raising money to mitigate risks for apartment owners. Initially, we thought we needed $150,000. So far, we’ve raised $375,000 and have increased our goal to $500,000 by the end of the year. Turns out, the veterans aren’t the only heroes in this story.
It’s a good thing we raised more money, because another thing we learned is that we were going to need to buy down some of these rents to make them affordable to those homeless veterans who have jobs. Thanks to the unexpected generosity of so many, we were able to handle this unexpected challenge.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
I can provide support
Your donation will go directly to the Housing
Heros fund, which will help ensure we reach our goals.
We’re dedicated to making sure that each and
every veteran has a home.
I can provide Housing
We need landlords and property owners to commit at least
one unit to veteran families that may have rental barriers.
If you’re capable of helping, please contact
Bree Williams to discuss options.
DO YOU NEED HELP?
If you’re a veteran currently experiencing homelessness,
or you know someone who is, please review the following
assessment form to seek help:
We’re working closely with our partners to
ensure we reach this important goal:
Austin Apartment Assosication
Austin Board of Realtors®
The Salvation Army
US Department of Veterans Affairs
City of Austin
HACA (Housing Authority of the City of Austin)
ECHO (Ending Community Homelessness Coalition)
Real Estate Council of Austin
Senator Kirk Watson