Why Everyone Should Be Talking about What This City Is Doing with Homeless Vets

SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco has taken the federal government’s challenge to end homelessness among its veterans by the end of 2015. Since the federal government announced this effort, dubbed the "Mayor's Challenge," New Orleans, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City claim to have found housing for all known homeless veterans.

In mid-November, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and San Francisco homeless coordinator Bevan Dufty broke ground on a new supportive housing facility for 130 former homeless veterans in the Financial District. Unlike other housing initiatives across the country that tie housing for the homeless to a series of strict anti-drug policies and penalizes those who need medical assistance, San Francisco is not levying those restrictions. It is in an effort to help those veterans who need a new start to get where they want to be to restructure their lives.

Approximately three quarters of the costs of running the new facility will be covered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Department of Veterans Affairs also committed an additional $500,000 for supportive services in addition to the suite of supportive services already programmed for the new facility, which includes case management, counseling, and recovery groups. The most vulnerable homeless veterans, with long histories of living on the streets, drug use, and psychiatric conditions will be prioritized, local reports said.