Raleigh - The number of homeless veterans in North Carolina has reached a record low according to a new report by Governor Pat McCrory's Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. North Carolina homeless veterans fell from 1,092 in 2015 to 888 in 2016, a 19 percent reduction over the year and a 37 percent reduction from 2012. Additionally, from 2015 to 2016, the number of chronically homeless veterans who experience enduring homelessness and have a disabling condition declined by 45 percent.
"Supporting our veterans has been a top priority, especially those facing homelessness," said Governor McCrory. "Through new initiatives and a revamped veterans resource guide, we have sought to connect those who have served our country and their families with health care, education, jobs and other services they deserve. These efforts are paying off by getting veterans off the streets and helping to cut the unemployment rate among veterans in half."
In June 2015, Governor McCrory announced a statewide strategy to end veteran homelessness in North Carolina. As part of meeting this goal, Governor McCrory's Working Group on Veterans and Their Families was presented with a report on North Carolina's efforts to combat veteran homelessness. The report, which was prepared by the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness, shows that the governor's comprehensive strategy to end veteran homelessness in the state is producing significant results.
In addition to outlining the decline in homeless veterans, the report also recommended innovative efforts to identify homeless veterans, build community-wide collaboration, engage the local service system, offer affordable housing options, prioritize chronically homeless veterans, and provide veterans with the type of housing and services that are specific to their individual needs.
The report is part of the Rapid Results Veteran Boot Camp initiative, a first-of-its-kind statewide training event held in Raleigh in February. The two-day event brought together teams from across the state to meet targets for combating veteran homelessness in local communities in a 100-day time frame. Counties participating in the initiative included Brunswick, Buncombe, Cleveland, Durham, Gaston, Lincoln, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pender, Rowan and Wake Counties. The teams reconvened this week to present this report and share their successes and plans for sustainability. The initiative was guided by successful strategies implemented in Cumberland and Forsyth Counties, which were recognized in 2015 by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness for their work in ending veteran homelessness.
The Rapid Results initiative, sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, is one of many programs the McCrory administration is coordinating through several departments and agencies to combat veteran homelessness.