Philadelphia has effectively ended homelessness for veterans, officials said Thursday. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro made the announcement surrounded by city and federal officials. Mayor Michael Michael Nutter said it took a great deal of work.
“We initially estimated that we would need to house more than a thousand veterans in Philadelphia. In fact, 1,390 veterans are in permanent housing,” Nutter said. “Most of them were chronically homeless, having been homeless for a year or more.”One of those new residents is Deborah Devine, who has been in and out of the shelter system for more than 10 years.
“For all the other veterans out there, don’t give up,” she said. “There is somebody out there, other veterans, who are out there to pull you in and help you.”
About 15 veterans refused to accept services, and there are still about 600 more other chronically homeless people on the city streets.
The push to house all the city’s veterans was in answer to a challenge issued by first lady Michelle Obama last year to mayors across the country.