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Virginia houses hundreds of homeless vets, hundreds more to go

Posted at 7:26 PM, Feb 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-05 19:26:19-05

Virginia houses nearly 500 homeless veterans during 100 challenge

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Thursday 462 homeless veterans have been housed or are in the process of receiving permanent housing during the state's 100 Day Challenge to house homeless veterans.

“Virginia is closer to meeting our goal today more than ever before,” said Governor McAuliffe. “We now need to continue to remember that the needs of veterans experiencing homelessness are urgent, but if we keep up the momentum, we can ensure that veteran homelessness is prevented whenever possible or becomes and remains a rare, brief, and nonrecurring experience.”

McAuliffe kicked off the challenge in September following First Lady Michelle Obama's nationwide challenge to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.

In January, the city of New Orleans became the first major U.S. city to complete the task.

"More than any other secret, it takes passion," said Martha Kegel, executive director of the nonprofit Unity of Greater New Orleans.  "You can do it without having a lot of resources. You need passion, determination, a really fierce sense that this is wrong to leave veterans on the street."

Claudia Gooch with The Planning Council in Norfolk is one of the leaders for housing homeless veterans in Hampton Roads.  Close to 300 veterans on the south side and Peninsula have been housed during the 100 Day Challenge.

"We`ve had a lot of resources during this challenge, so we`ve been able to get a lot of people housed," said Gooch, who explained that cooperation from the VA, public housing authorities, state and local governments and nonprofits helped during Virginia's challenge.

However, there are more than 300 other veterans still without a home in Hampton Roads.  Gooch said with more federal resources and faster processing of housing vouchers from the Hampton VA, Virginia could solve veterans homelessness this year.

Related: 

New Orleans ends veteran homelessness. Will Hampton Roads do the same?