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Rick Kriseman asks for residents’ help to eradicate Veteran homelessness by year-end

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

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.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email [email protected]

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