Tue | Jul 17, 2018

As Obama leaves office, goal on homeless veterans goes unmet

Published:Friday | January 6, 2017 | 12:00 AM

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP):

Pledges by President Barack Obama and a national non-profit organisation to end homelessness among veterans did not meet their goal, but advocates see bright spots and remain encouraged that the issue is prominent on the radar.

Homelessness among veterans has been effectively ended in two states, Virginia and Connecticut, and in 31 communities, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. But many veterans still sleep on the streets elsewhere in the country.

Still, as Obama's term ends, advocates call the national push a success because many veterans did get homes, and the ambitious goal created urgency. About two dozen non-profits, government officials and homeless veterans in 17 states and Washington spoke about the effectiveness of the effort and the challenges they faced.

"It has been the best kind of failure I've experienced," said Chris Ko, director of homeless initiatives for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. "It's black and white. Did we reach it? No. Did we succeed in the broader effort? Will we end veteran homelessness because of this national push? Yeah."

The Obama administration set a goal in 2010 of ending homelessness among veterans in 2015, and First Lady Michelle Obama challenged mayors nationwide to do so in 2014. Though the deadline passed without the goal being met, the US Interagency Council on Homelessness said it will not rest until every community has reached the goal.