Mission to aid homeless vets continues

DOVER — Friday marked the 200th day of Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen’s 2015 Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.

The initiative seeks to eliminate veteran homelessness by ensuring those who are homeless are able to be placed in permanent housing.

In March, the Dover Veterans Welcome Home Team established a goal of housing at least 50 homeless veterans by Dec. 31.

Of that number, the goal was to house at least 14 veterans who fit the definition of being chronically homeless.

Currently, the DVWHT has found permanent housing for 36 veterans, including 21 who were chronically homeless.

Friday marked the 200th day of Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen’s 2015 Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. (Delaware State News/Arshon Howard)

Friday marked the 200th day of Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen’s 2015 Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. (Delaware State News/Arshon Howard)

But Bill Farley, vice chairman of the Commission of Veterans Affairs said they still have a ways to go.

“In some cities and states around the country when they reach their goal they declare victory and retreat,” Mr. Farley said. “We, however, are not going to do that because we know that we can’t do that because there are still veterans out there that need our help.

“We still have a goal to reach and want to reach that number by the end of the year and exceed it if possible.

Mr. Farley hopes the program continues to expand.

“The next 100-day campaign, which will end on the 28th of December, will continue to focus on our goal of housing 50 veterans,” Mr. Farley said.

“But our plan during the next 100 days is to expand to cover the whole county.

“We’ll maintain our focus on Dover, but we will also track what will do in the whole county.”

The average age of the veterans is 48. Eight female and 23 male veterans have been housed.

The genders of the remaining five are not known.

“We have a lot of organizations that are helping us and they haven’t reported this information yet,” Mr. Farley said.

He said last October all that existed was Mayor Christiansen’s idea to help homeless veterans in Dover.

“When I found out about the number of homeless veterans in Dover I got mad,” Mayor Christiansen said.

“I got even more upset to find out that there are still homeless veterans across this country. Something needed to be done.”

Mayor Christiansen said their joint efforts have come to fruition, as the real joy was setting the template for everyone else in the state to follow suit.

In May Gov. Jack Markell signed on to a challenge to end veteran homelessness, and addressed the state’s efforts to find homes for all homeless veterans in Delaware by the end of 2015.

“It was terrific to see the governor acknowledge in his State of the State Address that he will be taking up the same program as we are,” Mayor Christiansen said.

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