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November 12, 2015
In Vets Day Speech, Mayor Gonzales Announces End to Veteran Homelessness in Santa Fe

In a Veterans Day speech at the Bataan Memorial this morning, following a community parade through downtown, Mayor Javier M. Gonzales announced that Santa Fe has effectively ended veteran homelessness.

The New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness will submit data to the federal government this week on Santa Fe’s successful efforts to achieve “functional zero” in terms of how many veterans are homeless in Santa Fe.

“Functional zero” means that all current known homeless veterans are housed, and any veteran who becomes homeless in the future can be re-housed within 30 days in permanent housing.

In his remarks as prepared, the Mayor said:

“You promise to protect and defend the constitution, and we promise to honor your sacrifice and do what we can to take care of you when you get home. It’s a promise we don’t always live up to.

"It’s hard to take an accurate count, but Housing and Urban Development estimates that on any given night there are nearly 50,000 homeless veterans. A lack of access to healthcare, to jobs, to education and training all contribute to the problem.

"But it’s past time that we do something about it, and our Community Development and Affordable Housing experts have been hard at work, pulling together a coalition of local non-profits and the Veterans Administration. And it is especially fitting that today, Veterans Day, we can announce that within just a couple of weeks we will end veteran homelessness in Santa Fe!

"The problem of veteran homelessness has been a shadow hanging over our country and our community for far too long. But we can finally say that, working with this coalition, we have built a collaborative system that within 30 days will enable us to house the few remaining homeless veterans in Santa Fe, and, moving forward, any veteran who becomes homeless in the future will be housed within 30 days.

"These were the milestones we set out in my Challenge to End Homelessness, and we are proud that in this one small way, we are living up to our commitment to all of you.”

Earlier in 2015 Mayor Gonzales signed onto the Zero:2016 initiative, a movement of communities to optimize local and federal resource, track monthly goals and accelerate the spread of proven strategies.

City staff has been working with a broad local and federal coalition to identify homeless vets in Santa Fe and move them through shelter and transitional housing into permanent housing.

The partner agencies include the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, St. Elizabeth Shelter, Interfaith Shelter, Santa Fe County Housing Authority, Life Link, and Goodwill.

The federal government has supported this effort by making more funding available via Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers, allocated through Santa Fe County, and Supportive Services for Veteran Families, allocated by Goodwill, in addition to other local, state and federal resources.




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