State aims to end veteran homelessness by year’s end

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A lot can change in a year. This time next year, no Connecticut veteran will be homeless. That is the claim, anyway, being made by a coalition of state, federal and nonprofit agencies working to end it by the close of 2015.

“I believe it is truly a solvable problem and it will end. We will end veteran homelessness in Connecticut in 2015,” said Sarah Fox with the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness.

She is joining Governor Malloy, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and other nonprofit agencies in attempting the lofty goal.

“We have momentum that I’ve never seen before,” said Fox.

By state records, there are more than 300 veterans who are living on the street at any given time; however, that number has dropped in recent years. The plan includes opening up more beds at the Rocky Hill Veterans Facility and handing out more housing vouchers to vets.

“It’s getting cold out and I don’t want to live under a bridge,” said veteran Warren Reade.

Reade said he is in danger of losing his apartment because his housing voucher has not come.

“I know about a half dozen veterans who are living in shelters and are basically walking around with backpacks,” said Reade.

Acting Commissioner of the Department of Veteran Affairs Joseph Perkins said it is attainable, but veterans need structure first.

“[Veterans] feel at ease, they feel more comfortable knowing they’re in a safe place,” said Perkins.

However, eliminating homelessness altogether among vets, Perkins said will likely never be done.

“It’s a good objective, it’s the right objective, but at the end of the day someone can become homeless,” said Perkins. “It happens that fast.”

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