In late December, Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova and the county joined the Mayors Challenge.
The Mayors Challenge is an effort of First Lady Michelle Obama and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and the National League of Cities.
The Mayors Challenge calls for mayors (and other jurisdiction leaders) to make a commitment to ending veteran homelessness in their communities in 2015.
Bulova said that honoring and taking care of veterans is “one of the most important things we can do as a nation, and Fairfax County will certainly do our part in making this goal a reality.”
“I am honored to partner with the Obama administration, nonprofit organizations, neighboring jurisdictions and the private sector to end veteran homelessness in the United States by the end of 2015,” she said.
During the 2014 Point-in-Time Count of homeless persons in Fairfax County, 8 percent of all single adults who were homeless (45 individuals) identified themselves as veterans. Additionally, the 2014 count found six veterans living in families with children.
Nationally, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness has decreased by about 33 percent since Opening Doors launched in 2010, the county says.
The Mayors Challenge is part of the federal Opening Doors initiative to end homelessness. As outlined by the program, ending veteran homelessness means reaching the point where there are no veterans sleeping on the streets and every veteran has access to permanent housing.
Also, the initiative will work to provide systems so that 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.
During the 2014 Point-in-Time Count on Jan. 29, 2014, there were 1,225 people who were homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church community. This represents a 9 percent reduction from the number counted in January 2013, or 125 fewer people.
Since 2008, the county has decreased the homeless population 33 percent. Adoption of housing first and rapid rehousing models, heightened prevention efforts, prioritizing housing for the longest and most vulnerable homeless through the 100,000 Homes campaign, additional VASH vouchers, dedication of new housing options to the chronically homeless, and the opening of Mondloch Place have assisted in this significant reduction, Fairfax County officials said.