Today, at the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by 2015.
Joined by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson, and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, the First Lady announced the nationwide challenge, which already has the commitment of 77 mayors, 4 county commissioners, and 4 governors to help meet this goal.
Over the last three years, there has been a remarkable 24 percent decrease in homeless veterans, but with 58,000 homeless veterans across the nation, more still needs to be done. The Mayors Challenge will help us get there by involving federal, state, local and community organizations in this “eminently solvable problem.”
In her remarks, the First Lady highlighted the efforts made so far across the country on this important issue, but she also challenged all Americans to step up and help end veteran homelessness.
Outlining specific ways that people can help in their own communities – such as starting a donation drive to support veteran housing efforts, or calling the mayor’s office and urging him or her to join in the Mayors Challenge – the First Lady made clear that everyone can make a difference on this issue.
“Just like it’s our country’s duty to bring back all of our men and women from the battlefield,” the First Lady said, “we’ve also got a duty to make sure that every single veteran has a place to call home when they get here – and for the rest of their lives.”
Commander Cara LaPointe, U.S. Navy, is a White House Fellow in the Office of the First Lady.