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ST. LOUIS • There are 300 homeless veterans in the region, but nine months from now — on Veterans Day — the number without a stable place to live will be zero.
That’s the ambitious goal of the St. Louis Area Regional Commission on Homelessness, a group formed about two years ago to figure out how to work together to tackle an issue that has been addressed before, but never in such a comprehensive fashion.
“No veteran should come home and be homeless,” said Yusef Scoggin, director of the St. Louis County Department of Human Services. “I want to make sure every veteran in our region is cared for.”
Scoggin was among a long list of speakers on Monday who helped roll out the new plan during a ceremony held inside the newly renovated Soldiers Memorial downtown.
The regional approach will ensure that veteran homelessness is a “rare and brief occurrence,” said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson repeated a popular quote from Michelle Obama.
“If a single veteran returns home and doesn’t have a roof over their head, that’s an affront to everything this country stands for,” Krewson said. The mayor added: “I’m confident we’ll reach our goal. We have no choice.”
The commission is using the Built for Zero model coordinated by Community Solutions, a nonprofit devoted to ending homelessness across the country. Including St. Louis, there are 74 communities, from California to Florida, tapping into the model.