Levy Court commissioners join effort to help end veterans’ homelessness

DOVER –– Kent County Levy Court commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to draft a resolution to pledge support to the Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness.

The challenge’s goal is to end veterans homelessness but individual municipalities are setting mile markers like the city of Dover which hopes to house 50 veterans by the end of 2015.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) seeks to place these homeless veterans in permanent homes, not temporary ones or homeless shelters.

Although the program is a nationwide initiative, it’s local ties are what supporters believe will make it successful.

“This works because it’s a local program, not statewide. When it gets to that level, people are looked at as statistics and not individuals,” Bill Farley, vice chairman of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs said.

Many of the services veterans need to acquire housing are available, it’s only identifying the veterans in need and helping through the process that’s the difficult part.

Mr. Farley hopes to create a database of homeless veterans who will be identified upon entering a homeless shelter or seeking veterans services so they can be helped on an individual basis by setting them up with the services they need.

Through the cooperation of the various agencies and municipalities involved, Mr. Farley said the working group has already seen red tape begin to disappear as everyone works toward a common goal.

“Anytime the mayor brings us a challenge, we’re always up for it,” Levy Court President Brooks Banta said. “We’re anxious to jump on board because this is an unfortunate problem seen across the country and I think it’s an important one to find a solution to.”

The commissioners will approve the resolution at next week’s business meeting. Next week’s approval will make Kent County the 14th entity in the state to sign on for the program.

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