Mayor Andy Berke joined First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday in committing to end veteran homelessness in Chattanooga. With Wednesday’s announcement of the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, Chattanooga joins a growing number of communities across the country making the pledge.
Mayor Berke publically pledged to end chronic veteran homelessness in Chattanooga on April 21, during his first State of the City address. The next day, Mayor Berke signed an executive order establishing a community coalition to eradicate chronic veteran homelessness. Mayor Berke is expected to announce the members of this task force in the coming days.
“These men and women have served our country valiantly and it’s time we take care of them,” said Mayor Berke. “Veteran homelessness is a problem across the country. But I look at the greatness of our city and know we can do better. We will work together -- businesses, community members, governmental organizations, and those who’ve served our country -- to ensure no veteran is forced to live on the streets, or in the parking garages, of Chattanooga, Tennessee.”
Chattanooga will work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, and the National League of Cities to leverage federal resources and develop a local strategy to make sure every veteran in the community has access to stable housing and the support services they need to stay off the street, said officials.
Since 2010, when the federal government launched Opening Doors, a plan to prevent and end homelessness, there has been a 24 percent reduction in homelessness among veterans. This reduction has been achieved through a partnership between the Obama Administration, local governments, non-profits and the private sector.
To learn more about resources for local veterans experiencing homelessness, visit https://www.onecpd.info/homelessness-assistance/resources-for-homeless-veterans/