Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 21, 2014

Mayor’s initiative to end chronic veteran homelessness selected for national campaign

Two of Chattanooga’s homeless veterans (L-R): James Fischer, who served in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood; and Ronald Johnson, a Navy veteran. Mayor Berke has pledged to end chronic veteran homelessness in the city. - (Photo by David Laprad)

Chattanooga’s local initiative to end chronic veteran homelessness has been selected to participate in a national campaign called Zero: 2016. Campaign organizer, Community Solutions, said it would work closely with the Chattanooga community to end chronic veteran homelessness by the end of 2016. Mayor Berke announced the collaboration last week during a Veteran’s Day Program at Washington Alternative School.

“We must take care of the men and women who have fought so courageously for our freedom,” said Mayor Berke. “Through strong collaboration between our task force and various community partners, such as the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition, Chattanooga Housing Authority, and our local Veterans Affairs Medical Center, we will utilize Community Solutions as a resource to ensure there will no longer be veterans living on the streets of Chattanooga.”

After a competitive application process, Chattanooga was selected for Zero: 2016 along with 68 other U.S. communities. Zero: 2016 is a follow up to Community Solutions’ 100,000 Homes Campaign, which resulted in the housing of 105,000 chronically homeless Americans in less than four years.

The 69 communities selected for Zero: 2016 represent 31 different states and the District of Columbia. Among them are 50 communities who also participated in the 100,000 Homes Campaign and 19 new communities. Combined, the group represents the joint, public commitment of 234 housing authorities, local government entities, non-profit organizations, and community agencies.

Mayor Berke publically pledged to end chronic veteran homelessness in Chattanooga on April 21, 2014, during his first State of the City address. The next day, the Mayor signed an executive order establishing a community task force to eradicate chronic veteran homelessness. The task force is co-chaired by City Council Chairman Chip Henderson and Donna Maddox, executive director of Johnson Mental Health.

From Oct. 13 to Oct. 15, 2014, the City of Chattanooga partnered with local agencies and community members to register and survey Chattanooga’s homeless veterans in an event called Registry Week. The canvassing effort surveyed 91 individuals living on the streets of Chattanooga; 15 of those individuals were identified as veterans.

Building upon the findings of October’s Registry Week, Zero: 2016 will launch in Chattanooga in January of 2015 by participating in Chattanooga’s annual “Point-In-Time Count,” an event that aims to register and survey our local homeless individuals in one night.

Source: Office of the Mayor