City Becomes First to Eliminate Homelessness for Veterans By OL Staff April 4, 2016

Homelessness among America’s heroic veterans is a continuing issue across the country. As veterans return from war, often facing both physical and mental injuries, the prospects of adjusting back to normal society can be strenuous.

With suicide, mental illness and unemployment a major affliction affecting our nation’s veterans, the prospects of a wide-scale solution seem bleak.

But one city in Massachusetts has met the issue head on, becoming the first city in the state to be certified by the federal government as having eliminated homelessness among veterans.

As reported by the Lynn Journal:

Lynn has become the first city in Massachusetts to be certified by the federal government as having effectively eliminated homelessness among veterans. The official announcement confirming the certification was held in a ceremony Tuesday at the Lynn Museum.

The certification comes from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is the culmination of a yearlong process led by the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development, in partnership with Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and the Lynn Continuum of Care, a collection of agencies that coordinate services for the homeless.

“We are extremely proud to receive this designation from the federal government,” Kennedy said. “We embrace our responsibility to provide our veterans with the services and supports they need, with housing at the top of that list.”

Lynn’s certification indicates that all the homeless veterans in the city have been identified and housing has been provided to as many as possible. By having the availability of both rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing resources, as well as incorporating the principles of Housing First throughout the entire spectrum of housing assistance for a veteran, these systems have been streamlined to help a veteran experiencing homelessness to quickly secure permanent housing.

An equally critical part of the veteran housing assistance system has been the availability and provision of supportive services to help veterans maintain stability within their new homes. By implementing efficient homelessness response systems Lynn has ensured that any veteran’s experience with homelessness either now or in the future will be rare, brief, and non-recurring.

“We have proven that we have established an effective means of identifying homeless veterans and a delivery model for services,” said Harry MacCabe, director of Regional Housing and Services for LHAND.

Head over to the Lynn Journal for the full story.