A nationwide initiative to end homelessness among veterans has arrived in Arkansas.
The effort is now receiving funding in the Little Rock area, and into Fayetteville.
The United States Housing and Urban Development office has announced that they will donate $140 million to homeless assistance programs across the country.
One homeless assistance program in Fayetteville will be sharing a near-half million dollar grant with three other programs in Arkansas, in an effort to end homelessness among veterans.
“They need to be treated with the dignity they deserve as people that served our country” said Mayor Lioneld Jordan.
Statistics show that 25 percent of homeless citizens in America once served in the armed forces.
Mayors in cities across the United States are joining in an effort to end homelessness among our veterans.
“We have an issue here that needs to be addressed, and we are going to address that issue,” Jordan said.
Fayetteville signed on to the initiative. He believes that the city, with proper funding and action, could end homelessness among veterans by 2015.
“I always believe the glass is half full, and I believe we are going to accomplish that,” Jordan said.
Brian McAnally works in Fayetteville’s Homeless Veterans Program. He says the initiative has the right idea.
“I think it’s a good goal. I think that if you’re going to set a goal, you might as well set the goal to end it,” McAnally said.
The goal is to have all veterans in housing and with jobs by the end of next year.
“It would be challenging to meet that by 2015, but I think we can make a dent in the homeless population in Northwest Arkansas if we all work together,” McAnally said.
And with continuous help from both federal funding, and help from the community, mayors across the United States hope to have homelessness among children, families, and youth ended by 2020.
“Any person we take off the streets is a victory” McAnally said.
The initiative was started in 2010 when President Obama, and 19 federal agencies and offices from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, began their strategies to prevent and end homelessness across the country.
Fayetteville mayor Loineld Jordan says he encourages other mayors across the nation to join this effort, as he hopes Fayetteville will only be one of many cities in Northwest Arkansas to join the effort.