News Release - Rochester Recognized for Ending Veteran Homelessness, City Achieves ‘Functional Zero’ on Critical Criteria

City of Rochester

News Release 

(Friday, January 15, 2016) -- Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced that the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has declared that Rochester has successfully answered First Lady Michelle Obama’s call to end homelessness among veterans.

Michelle Obama launched the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness and challenged mayors and other state and local leaders across the country to commit to ending veteran homelessness in their communities.

“Veterans who have fought to maintain our country’s freedom should never find themselves homeless once they return to civilian life,” said Mayor Warren. “Ensuring that our veterans’ housing needs are met is critical if we are to achieve our goal of providing safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, more jobs and better educational opportunities for our citizens. That’s why I was happy to sign on to the First Lady’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. All of our nation’s veterans deserve to be treated well, and I am proud that in Rochester we can say that we are doing our part. ”

Specifically, the call to action was for mayors to make a commitment to ending veteran homelessness in their cities by the end of 2015. A total of 859 leaders, including 684 mayors, nine governors and 166 county and city officials signed on to the Challenge.

Ending veteran homelessness means reaching the point where there are no veterans sleeping on our streets and every veteran has access to permanent housing. Should veterans become homeless or be at-risk of becoming homeless, communities will have the capacity to quickly connect them to the help they need to achieve housing stability.

The USICH announced that Rochester has successfully achieved “functional zero” for veteran homelessness. The criteria for achieving functional zero are as follows:
• The community has identified all veterans experiencing homelessness;
• The community provides shelter immediately to any veteran experiencing unsheltered homelessness who wants it;
• In instances when transitional housing is provided to a veteran, priority is placed on the use of transitional housing as a short-term bridge to permanent housing;
• The community has capacity to assist veterans to swiftly move into permanent housing; and
• The community has resources, plans and system capacity in place should any veteran become homeless or be at risk of homelessness.

“Does this mean there are absolutely no homeless veterans here? Not precisely,” said Amy D’Amico, Rochester/Monroe County Homeless Continuum of Care Coordinator. “But we have a coordinated response to homelessness here. We have a system that coordinates effective solutions for our veterans, engaging veterans at the Veterans Outreach Center, at the VA and at the Rochester Housing Authority, as well as at shelters like the YWCA, Volunteers of America and The Salvation Army. Even when vets refuse services, we wrap services around them in a coordinated way and we do our utmost to find and obtain permanent housing for them.”


News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at 428-7135.