The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness is an effort led by mayors across the country to end and prevent homelessness among our veterans.
The call to action was first announced by First Lady Michelle Obama and echoed by the Secretaries of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), and by the National League of Cities.
To date, 883 leaders have signed the Challenge, including 702 mayors, nine governors and 172 county and city officials. On October 20, Delaware became the third state to be recognized for effectively ending veteran homelessness.
The Delaware Challenge
In January 2015, Governor Markell announced his intention to join the national Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in his State of the State Address. He charged Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi and Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Rita Landgraf with developing a plan to achieve this goal, then unveiled the State's plan and formally signed on to the Challenge in May 2015.
A state working group convened to lead the effort at the state level, and local teams formed in each County to bring together local players. The state group, using methodology developed by the VA, estimated that 277 veterans experience homelessness over the course of a year in Delaware. Since January 2015, 414 homeless veterans have been placed in permanent housing in Delaware. On October 20, 2016, Delaware was notified by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), HUD, and VA that it had met the criteria to confirm it has effectively ended veteran homelessness. The state working group has issued a report, Achieving an End to Veteran Homelessness in Delaware, in early 2017 on the Challenge: strategies used, lessons learned, and summary data.
Confirmation Letter - Read the October 20 letter confirming that the State of Delaware has effectively ended veteran homelessness.
Effectively Ending Veteran Homelessness
When we say we have "effectively ended" veteran homelessness, that means that we have reached a point where we are housing more veterans than those who are being identified as homeless. Effectively ending veteran homelessness does not mean that no veteran will ever experience a housing crisis again, but that every community has a sustainable, systematic response in place that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible, or is otherwise a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience.
Are Any Veterans Still Homeless?
Yes. On any given night, Delaware veterans experience the crisis of homelessness. But systems are now in place to rapidly locate permanent housing for those veterans, and connect them with services to prevent the reoccurrence of homelessness. Local, state and federal partners now share data on veterans experiencing homelessness; the most intensive resources are targeted to veterans with the greatest need; and providers have improved connections between veteran-specific and mainstream resources for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing. Anyone facing the prospect of homelessness should call 211 or the Delaware Coordinated Assessment System at (302) 654-0126. Veterans can also receive help 24/7 by calling the national Housing Help for Veterans hotline at (877) 424-3838.
For more information:
The State of Housing & Homelessness in the First State (2017)
Federal Partners: US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), US Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD), National League of Cities
Communities Signed on in Delaware: State of Delaware, New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties; Cities of Wilmington, Newark, Dover and Seaford; Towns of Georgetown, Bridgeville, Blades and Greenwood
State: Commission for Veterans Affairs, Delaware State Housing Authority, Department of Health and Social Services - Divisions of State Service Centers, Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH), and Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD),
Community: Homeless Planning Council of Delaware, Delaware Continuum of Care, including non-profit and faith based homeless service providers, local governments, Supportive Services for Veterans Families providers (Connections CSP and Veterans Multi-Service Center), Public Housing Authorities, Wilmington Housing Authority, Veterans Services Organizations, human service non-profits, landlords, and businesses
Learn more about Delaware's efforts to end veteran homelessness:
Background - Delaware's Mayors Challenge
Help House Our Veterans - Landlord Recruitment
Delaware needs landlords who are willing to help provide quality housing for U.S. Veterans and their families who are seeking affordable rental homes. If you are willing to help House our Vets, please fill out the form below and we'll be in touch. If you have a current vacancy, please let us know that by checking the box below. Have questions? Email us at email@example.com. Thank you for your help!