Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke signed an executive order on Tuesday, establishing a community coalition to eradicate chronic veterans’ homelessness by December 2016.
Officials said the task force will pull together a group of veterans, community leaders, and service providers to work to develop an action plan over the next year and monitor progress toward this ambitious goal.
According to Veteran Affairs, at any given time in Chattanooga, there are about 150 veterans who are homeless and 20% who are chronically homeless. Due to the transient nature of this problem, it is likely that many more go uncounted.
“These men and women have served our country valiantly and it’s time we take care of the people who have fought so courageously for our freedom” said Mayor Berke.
Prior to announcing the creation of this task force, Mayor Berke and City Council Chairman Chip Henderson met with veterans on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga about the issues they faced both during service and since returning home.
“This is an issue around our country, but I know that Chattanooga can solve tough problems. I am confident we will be able to make a real difference for these brave men and women” said Chairman Henderson.
UTC is home to the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, a boot camp to help veterans get the training they need to start and grow their own local businesses.
Mayor Berke indicated he would name task force members over the next few weeks, with an initial meeting taking place in early June.
Click here to read the executive order.