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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Campaign to help every homeless veteran in King County find a home by the end of 2015

Summary

After helping more than 1,200 local military veterans transition to safe, affordable housing since 2014, King County has launched a community-wide campaign to help the estimated 662 remaining veterans find housing by Dec. 31, 2015.

Story

Operation: WelcomeOneHome

King County has launched a community-wide campaign to help every local homeless military veteran find housing by Dec. 31, 2015.

The Committee to End Homelessness and its regional partners have already helped more than 1,200 local veterans transition to housing since 2014. Operation: WelcomeOneHome encourages property managers and community organizations to help the estimated 662 remaining veterans find housing.

“Many homeless military veterans have a housing voucher in their hands they just need a property manager to give them a chance,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Helping every veteran in King County find a safe, affordable place to live by the end of the year requires a community-wide effort, one that I am proud to be a part of.”

Leaders from across the state participated in the campaign launch

Elected leaders from federal, state, and local levels participated in a campaign launch at Seattle Central College. Participants included U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, state House Speaker Frank Chopp, Deputy King County Executive Fred Jarrett, King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray .

“As the daughter of a World War II veteran and a senior member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, I’ve been fighting for years to make sure our country follows through on its promise to take care of our veterans after they return home,” U.S. Senator Patty Murray said. “While our country has made great strides in recent years providing services to the men and women who so bravely served our country, I believe that even one veteran sleeping on the streets is one too many, which is why I’m so proud to join this effort to end veteran homelessness once and for all.”

More than 200 people participated in the campaign kickoff for Operation: WelcomeOneHome at the Broadway Performance Hall in Seattle. Speakers stressed the need to bring together resources at all levels of government and from the private sector to be successful in helping very veteran off the street and into stable housing.

The kickoff included an informational forum led by HUD Regional Administrator Bill Block to introduce the program to prospective landlords. With funding support from the voter-approved Veterans and Human Services Levy, the program includes a risk reduction fund and linkages for veterans to case management and other supportive services such as job coaching and training. The program works closely with landlords and veterans to make a good match. Improving coordination across all levels of government and increasing collaboration between public and private sectors was the goal of Executive Constantine’s Regional Veterans Initiative, now in its second year.

Since 2014, 1,200 local military vets have received housing placements 

The campaign is conducted in conjunction with the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, introduced by the White House last year. Executive Constantine signed on, as did Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Algona Mayor David Hill, Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, Kenmore Mayor David Baker, and Renton Mayor Denis Law.

“Too many veterans answered the call only to return home from war unable to find a warm bed at night,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Cities across America continue to struggle with the rising crisis of homelessness. Seattle is responding in collaboration with our local partners and through our own significant investments in social services and our Seattle Housing Levy.”

Thanks to the support of the federal government, hundreds of housing vouchers have been created for homeless veterans. The Committee to End Homelessness in King County and its partners successfully placed more 800 homeless veterans into permanent housing in 2014. So far in 2015, 426 homeless veterans have received permanent housing placements, leaving an estimated 662 others homeless.

Today, more than 225 veterans have a housing voucher but can’t find a property owner or manager who is willing to accept it. The highly-competitive rental market and strict screening criteria are serious barriers for homeless veterans. A new partner, Zillow, has joined the regional effort to increase availability of private market housing for people exiting homelessness, including veterans.

New call center established for veterans to contact for help

The campaign establishes a command center for triaging calls, with one number for veterans to call for help with shelter, housing, and other services. That number is 1-877-904-8387. The campaign also has a number for prospective landlords to call for information on the Operation: WelcomeOneHome program and how to join. That number is 206-336-4616.

For more information on Operation: WelcomeOneHome, contact Dawn Barrett, King County Regional Veterans Initiative at 206-263-1222.


Relevant links


Quotes

Many homeless military veterans have a housing voucher in their handsthey just need a property manager to give them a chance. Helping every veteran in King County find a safe, affordable place to live by the end of the year requires a community-wide effort, one that I am proud to be a part of.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

As the daughter of a World War II veteran and a senior member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, I’ve been fighting for years to make sure our country follows through on its promise to take care of our veterans after they return home. While our country has made great strides in recent years providing services to the men and women who so bravely served our country, I believe that even one veteran sleeping on the streets is one too many, which is why I’m so proud to join this effort to end veteran homelessness once and for all.

Patty Murray, U.S. Senator

Tens of thousands of our neighbors across the state don’t have homes, and many are veterans. Last session, we invested millions to help reduce homelessness. Working together with local governments like Seattle and King Countyand using programs such as WelcomeOneHomewe can end veteran homelessness in King County this year.

Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House

Far too many of our veterans are coming home to homelessness and that is unacceptable. As a community, we have a shared goal and commitment that we will house every veteran homeless in King County and create the ability to rapidly re-house any veteran who becomes homeless in the future.

Joe McDermott, King County Councilmember

Our success will depend on bringing together our entire communitygovernment, philanthropy, veterans organizations, landlords and neighbors. Thanks to the Regional Veterans Initiative, we have the coordination in place that we will need to achieve our goal and help us find a home for every homeless veteran in King County by year end.

Fred Jarrett, Deputy King County Executive

Too many veterans answered the call only to return home from war unable to find a warm bed at night. Cities across America continue to struggle with the rising crisis of homelessness. Seattle is responding in collaboration with our local partners and through our own significant investments in social services and our Seattle Housing Levy.

Ed Murray, Seattle Mayor

Two homeless veterans are being housed each day, most of them using rental vouchers in the private market. We need to up our average to three veterans housed per day. Landlords will be the real heroes of this campaign as they make rental housing available to veterans looking to leave homelessness behind.

Mark Putnam, Director, Committee to End Homelessness

With a tag line of ‘Find your way home,’ Zillow is aiming to help everyone find their way home, by connecting landlords and property managers with homeless veterans and other populations with rental barriers through the Community Pillar program.

Rebekah Bastian, Vice President of Products, Zillow

For more information, contact:

Sherry Hamilton, Community and Human Services, 206-263-9010


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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