The city of Atlanta announced recently it has effectively ended veteran homelessness, confirmed by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In 2014, Mayor Kasim Reed joined other mayors across the country in accepting President Obama’s challenge to end veteran homelessness by 2015. Since that time, Partners for HOME and the providers of the Atlanta Continuum of Care in partnership with HUD, the VA and the Atlanta Housing Authority, have created a coordinated system to identify, assess, connect and permanently house veterans experiencing homelessness. To date, the CoC has placed 1,859 veterans experiencing homelessness into permanent housing.
The city of Atlanta is one of only two municipalities in the state of Georgia that has met the federal benchmarks and criteria for creating an effective end to homelessness for veterans. Meeting the criteria for each benchmark, set by USICH, means Atlanta has created a system and capacity to quickly identify and house veterans experiencing homelessness.
Earlier this year, Mayor Reed announced that the Atlanta City Council voted to authorize Invest Atlanta to issue a $26 million Homeless Opportunity Bond to be matched by a $25 million philanthropic donation from the United Way of Greater Atlanta, for a $50 million total initiative to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring in the City of Atlanta. The Atlanta City Council also authorized the adoption of ClearPath – Partners for HOME’s five-year strategic plan focused on permanent housing placements for all individuals experiencing homelessness.
The CoC conducted its annual point-in-time count in January 2017. Unlike other cities around the country experiencing spikes in homelessness, Atlanta continues to experience declines in overall homelessness. Overall homelessness is down 21 percent since 2015. Since 2013, the CoC has seen a 61 percent decrease in the total number of chronically homeless individuals, a 52 percent decrease in unsheltered homeless individuals and a 62 percent decrease in the number of homeless veterans in Atlanta, according to the Regional Commission on Homelessness.