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Orlando Essentially Ends Veteran Homelessness

Volunteers talk with a homeless man at Lake Eola during a massive search to find homeless veterans.

The Central Florida Commission on Homelessness reports that it has essentially ended veteran homelessness in the Orlando metro area. That fulfills a pledge city leaders made last year.

That pledge was part of a challenge President Obama put before cities a few years ago, and the VA supported with dollars dedicated to getting veterans into housing. The Orlando VA and Department of Housing and Urban Development played a large role in getting vets into housing.

In 2011, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties counted nearly 700 homeless vets. Central Florida Commission on Homelessness CEO Andrae Bailey said that number is now down to 13.

“We have to use this momentum now to say to ourselves as a community, ‘we’ve proved that we can house some, now we have to prove that we can get housing for all,’” said Bailey.

The push to house veterans got a boost this summer when hundreds of volunteers fanned out across the region to find those homeless vets.

Across the country cities like Phoenix, Houston and Salt Lake City ended veteran homelessness. Miami was on track earlier this year to get all of its homeless veterans off the streets.

President Obama announced the challenge back in 2010 when there were more than 75,000 known homeless veterans across the country.

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About Catherine Welch

Catherine Welch