Council announces Delaware County has effectively

ended veteran homelessness


Today Delaware County Council, the Delaware County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Delaware County Department of Human Services announced that Delaware County has effectively ended veteran homelessness, confirmed recently by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Delaware County joined other counties across the United States in accepting the challenge set by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to end veteran homelessness in 2014. Since that time, the Delaware County Department of Human Services, Farea Graybill and several representatives from the Supportive Services for Veterans Program (SSVF) from Community Action Agency and Salvation Army have worked tirelessly to create a coordinated system to identify, assess, connect and permanently house veterans experiencing homelessness. The Delaware County Housing Authority also played a key role in providing Veteran Administration Supportive Housing (VASH) Vouchers to this population.

"In Delaware County, we support our brave men and women when they serve our nation either overseas or on base in the United States, and we also have a duty to them when they return to civilian life," said Delaware County Council Chairman Mario J. Civera, Jr., who is a U.S. Air Force veteran. "Everyone deserves a place that they can call home, especially our veterans, who deserve a home where they can be comfortable and secure after sacrificing so much on our behalf," Civera said.

To date, Delaware County has placed 251 veterans experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of homelessness into permanent housing. To accomplish this, there was a team of dedicated people who developed a list of homeless veterans and tracked their progress at the weekly meetings for the past three years. By meeting the criteria for each benchmark, set by USICH, Delaware County has created a system of care and capacity to quickly identify and house veterans experiencing homelessness. If a homeless veteran is identified in Delaware County, they will be rehoused within 90 days with existing resources.

"On behalf of HUD Secretary Ben Carson, I'd like to congratulate the Delaware County Council, the Delaware County Department of Human Services and all those partners who were instrumental in helping the county achieve this goal," said Joe DeFelice, Regional Administrator of HUD's Mid-Atlantic region. "Although the work continues, this is a significant step in ensuring that veteran homelessness is rare, brief and nonrecurring. With the infrastructure and systems in place, the county now has what it takes to give every veteran what they richly deserve—a permanent place to call home."

The federal designation also recognizes that the county has maintained a robust continuum of services including outreach, services, emergency, and permanent housing placements to continue to identify veterans who may become homeless and immediately connect them to care and resources.

"We commend all of the partners who collaborated to strategically address this concern in our community," said Chairman Civera. "With the systems and resources we have in place here in Delaware County, we can assist any homeless veteran in our county who becomes known to us, and we can find them a place to call home," Civera said.

The range of services available to veterans through the county, state and federal governments can be found on the county's website: http://www.co.delaware.pa.us/vet_affairs.

For more information on the Veterans Housing Program residents can call Community Action Agency at 610-874-8451 or the Salvation Army at 610-874-0423