Monday, April 20, 2015, Chicago, Illinois, A Safe Haven Foundation. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Midwest Deputy Regional Administrator, Michael R. Merchant made a historic announcement during a press conference held at A Safe Haven Foundation main headquarters. Mr. Merchant announced HUD is providing an additional $65,000,000 nationally, including $1.8 Million locally in funding to end homelessness among veterans this year. The Obama Administration has made a historic commitment to end veteran homelessness in 2015. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, since the 2010 rollout of Opening Doors, the first-ever federal strategic plan to end and prevent homelessness, veteran homelessness has been cut by an incredible 33 percent. By quickly and strategically deploying significant federal resources, along with transforming homelessness response systems to sustain progress, communities can ensure that no veteran will have to sleep on the streets again.
Remarks at the press conference were made by Neli Vazquez Rowland, President of A Safe Haven Foundation; James A. Cunningham, HUD Midwest Deputy Regional Administrator; Michael R. Merchant, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Housing Authority; Ann R. Brown, Medical Center Director Jesse Brown VA Medical Center; Nonie Brennan, Chief Executive Officer, All Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness; and Veterans Affairs representatives from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s office and Illinois Senator Richard Durbin’s office. A homeless military Veteran and resident of A Safe Haven gave a moving testimony of his own challenges with homelessness— noting how through the collective efforts of the VA and HUD, he was able to obtain housing vouchers and will now move to permanent affordable housing, with plans to enroll in higher education. Media coverage included, WGN and WTTW.
‘We were honored to host the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for this historic announcement together with our partners. Since our founding in 1994, A Safe Haven has been deeply committed to supporting our nation’s veteran population. Thus we were very happy to see the need for additional funding being recognized on such a high level. Together I know we will be able to bring an end to veteran homelessness. It is a moral imperative that no man or woman who served our country should be left without help in times of crisis,’ said ASHF president, Neli Vazquez Rowland.