St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman is nearing the end of a deadline he agreed to last year. In a 2014 call from First Lady Michelle Obama, Kriseman joined “The Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness,” seeking to end chronic homelessness among our nation’s veterans by the end of this year.
“I am calling on property owners and landlords in our community to join forces with local government, veteran organizations, and social service providers to help provide housing for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line in service to our city and our nation,” Kriseman said.
He needs them to join the charge because, according to the city, to reach his goal the city needs about 125 units of housing in order to move veterans into independent housing. In a press release from the mayor’s office, the city reported that low vacancy rates and shortage of affordable housing make reaching that number a challenge.
“We are on the brink of achieving something truly remarkable in our community–the end of veterans homelessness,” said Cliff Smith, the city’s manager of Veterans, Social and Homeless Services.
“We have identified the veterans in need of help and have the knowledge and resources needed to achieve this goal. Funds are available to help with rent, utilities and deposits–we just need our landlords to join with us by providing the housing to make this a reality,” said Smith.
And it’s not like the city is asking landlords to give away their units. Rental subsidy vouchers are available to house veterans through numerous programs, including various HUD programs and the Supportive Services for Veterans and their Families operated by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Pete’s premier homeless services center.
For more information about the Challenge or to contribute resources contact Smith at 727-893-7627.