WUOMFM

Groups say they've "ended" homelessness among military veterans in Kent County

Sep 26, 2017

The problem of homelessness among military veterans in Kent County has been solved, according to several organizations that have been working to find housing for them.

The county had more than 400 homeless veterans when the collaborative effort began in 2015.

Jeffrey King is the director of communications for Community Rebuilders, a non-profit that hopes to end homelessness in the Grand Rapids area.

He says veterans now have more support in the community.

“We've put a system in place to make homelessness among veterans in our community rare and brief,” King said.

An Obama-era initiative to end chronic homelessness began in 2010. There are now 54 communities nationwide that have solved veteran homelessness.

Vera Beech, executive director of Community Rebuilders, says helping the veterans was just the beginning.

“This is a great platform for us to move forward and think about what did we learn in this effort so that we can end homelessness for all populations in our community,” Beech said.

Nan Roman, the CEO and president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, says the factors that cause homelessness are what communities need to address.

“We’re going to take what we did here, connecting people to resources, the outreach efforts and such and apply it to other communities. We just have to make sure people have each of the necessities before we move on,” Roman said.

Read more about national efforts to end homelessness on the National Alliance to End Homelessness' website