Virginia is a national leader in ending homelessness, and the Richmond region is proud to be a part of this successful effort. Our work as a region and as a state demonstrates to the rest of the country that the goal of ending homelessness is important and within reach. We are especially proud that the greater Richmond community has prioritized ending homelessness for our most vulnerable veterans.
At Homeward, we expect that 476 veterans will experience homelessness in our region in the next year. While veteran homelessness is down 28 percent since the peak in 2009, this number is still unacceptable. Fortunately, thanks to national momentum and the allocation of new housing resources for veterans, our leading-edge service providers are now able to transition these remaining individuals into permanent housing and to provide the services they need to maintain this stability. Permanent housing is the primary solution to homelessness, and with these resources and innovative practices, we will have ended veteran homelessness by Dec. 31, 2015. This is a big deal.
What does it mean to end veteran homelessness — or any type of homelessness? It means that nobody experiences a housing crisis for more than 30 days before being transitioned back into permanent housing with any needed supports that enable them to stay in housing. When we end veteran homelessness, we will have demonstrated that it can be done. That we can and will end all types of homelessness through effective crisis management systems, targeted resources and strong communitywide leadership.
Homeward is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization leading the regional charge to end homelessness by collecting and analyzing data on regional homelessness and utilizing this information to help coordinate our response system. Comprehensive data allow us to really understand area trends in homelessness and the long-term outcomes of our intervention strategies, as well as target our work to meet demand and have the greatest, most sustained impact.