With so much in the news recently on veteran homelessness, we reached out to the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services. Secretary Coleman Nee is guest blogging for us this week, giving his thoughts on how to tackle this growing problem.
A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) found that veterans account for 12% of the homeless population in Massachusetts. The men and women who have served our country so bravely deserve the opportunity to gain permanent housing and self-sufficiency, and the Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to partnering with community-based organizations to address the issue of homelessness among veterans.
The Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) is collaborating with the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development on an approach that calls for not only housing, but utilizing existing opportunities for employment, training, education, health care and other benefits our veterans and their families have earned.
In 2007, the Patrick-Murray Administration reinstated the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (ICHH) and has dedicated significant attention to addressing the needs of homeless veterans through a veteran-specific subcommittee. We have worked with our partners to align the network of state, regional, and local homeless providers; allowing a seamless transition for homeless veterans to immediate services and long-term housing.
Ending veteran homelessness is a top priority for DVS. Going forward, we will continue to work with our existing partners and expand our collaborations with additional resources and housing programs to address the specific needs of veterans. Strengthening our outreach efforts to vulnerable and at-risk populations and aligning our goals with that of the VA and regional providers, we will all work together to ensure a more fulfilling and productive life for those that have served us.
For more information on veterans’ housing, programs and services visit www.mass.gov/veterans or call (617) 210 5480.
Coleman Nee, Secretary
Department of Veterans’ Services