There are no more homeless veterans in Phoenix, AZ according to a report in the New York Times. The city has become the first to identify and find housing for its veterans who have a history of living on the street.
In 2011, by a city count, there were 222 chronically homeless veterans here, a vulnerable, hard-to-reach population of mostly middle-age men, virtually all battling some type of physical or mental ailment along with substance abuse. Federal and city officials acknowledged that was not an exact number, but it is widely regarded as the best measure of the veteran population.
Last month, the last 41 members of that group were placed in temporary housing. Shane Groen, a director at the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness, one of the city’s partners in the program, said the goal was to have them all in permanent housing by Feb. 14.
The report also said that the mayor of Salt Lake City announced that all their chronically homeless veterans had been placed in homes. Both cities are using the approach of “Housing First” so their situations can be stabilized and then treatment made available for addiction or mental illness. The report also noted that the retention rate nationally is 85 percent for homeless veterans staying in their permanent housing but that rises to 94 percent in Phoenix.