FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2016
For media inquiries, contact: Cathy Kuhn, PhD at 603.782.7251
NEW HAMPSHIRE MAKING SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN ENDING VETERAN HOMELESSNESS
Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness Reports on Progress to Ending Veteran Homelessness in New Hampshire
CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness (NHICH) announced on Monday, August 8 that New Hampshire has made significant progress in ending homelessness among U.S. Veterans. The Council noted that, as a result of recent highly coordinated statewide efforts, the state has bolstered efforts to prevent and homelessness for veterans.
The goal of these enhanced efforts is to achieve “functional zero,” a federal benchmark that ensures that veterans who are experiencing homelessness have immediate access to shelter and permanent housing that suits their needs. Achieving functional zero means that care is integrated and coordinated across the community and that providers have the resources required to ensure every veteran who is experiencing homelessness and is willing to engage in the program is quickly housed and provided supportive opportunities.
“Our veterans have sacrificed bravely in defense of our freedom, and we must always work to ensure that they receive the full support that they deserve, including access to affordable housing,” Governor Hassan said. “I am proud of the progress we have made in significantly reducing the number of homeless veterans, and we must continue working together to ensure that all of our veterans can live independently and contribute to our economic and civic life, which will also help spur economic development and support a strong middle class throughout the State.”
“As a state, we need to keep our sights high. Providing a home to every veteran in New Hampshire should be a priority and our efforts need to be persistent in our daily battle against veteran homelessness,” said Peter Kelleher from Harbor Homes. “Thanks to efforts from across the state that involved partners spanning the spectrum, we are closer to our goal of functionally ending homelessness among veterans in New Hampshire.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center on Homeless Veterans reports approximately 10 percent of adults in the United States are veterans; yet, existing data from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) suggests that veterans represent up to 15 percent of American’s who are experiencing homelessness. In New Hampshire, the most recent reports show that homelessness among veterans declined by 16 percent from 2014 to 2015. Compounding the complex set of factors that influences homelessness – shortages of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care – a large number of at-risk veterans live with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use, incompatible employment skills and a lack of family and social support networks.
“Manchester VA is committed to supporting our military men and women. Support that is veteran-centric and embraces the complete needs of the veteran must also include families when applicable,” said Danielle Ocker, Director of the Veterans Administration Medical Center. “Those who served our country may be coping with mental illness; others might be managing physical disabilities, and it may be they are seeking gainful employment. Our services and those in the community are designed to ensure supports are in place for those who served and their loved ones so they do not face additional obstacles when trying to secure safe and affordable housing.”
Taking a proactive stance in eradicating homelessness, efforts in New Hampshire have included a comprehensive strategy to ensure that coordinated and ongoing services and resources are available to veterans. Outreach initiatives and awareness campaigns across the state have been significant contributors to progress made in reducing the number of veterans experiencing homelessness. “Through daily outreach and continued cross-sector collaboration, our goal is to provide every veteran a safe and stable home,” said Cathy Kuhn, Chair of the NHICH and Director of the New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness. “With continued diligence and strategic investment of resources, this goal will soon become a reality.”
The New Hampshire Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness (NHICH) is charged with ensuring statewide progress towards ending homelessness through developing, coordinating, and making recommendations for statewide planning, policy and resource allocation to address significant facets of homelessness. The NHICH was created pursuant Executive Order 2006-11, as amended by Executive Order 2012-2. For more information about the NHICH, visit ich.nhceh.org or call 603.782.7251.