Valley Edition
3:50 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Can Veteran Homelessness End In Fresno By 2015?

Fresno Veterans Home. File Photo.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In what may seem like a huge task, Fresno is looking to end veteran homelessness by 2015.  Last week the city announced its participation in a nationwide program - 25 Cities Initiative - to end veteran and chronic homelessness.

In an interview with Joe Moore on Valley Edition, Sarah Mihradi with the Poverello House and Teresa Guardado with the Fresno Veterans Administration explain the action plan to end veteran homelessness in the region.

 "In Fresno we have around 400-500 veterans so part of the mission of the Veterans Administration is to end veteran homelessness," says Teresa Guardado with the Fresno VA.  A group of 15 agencies including Valley experts on homelessness met last week and came up with a 100-day plan. At the end of the 100-days the success of the initiative will be evaluated.   

"Basically what we are going to do is for 100-days all of us agencies are going to come together and try to house 60 high priority individuals in permanent housing."

The first step in the plan is to find housing for homeless veterans. But first they have to find them.

"Basically what we are going to do is for 100-days all of us agencies  are going to come together and try to house 60 high priority individuals in permanent housing," says Sarah Mihradi with the Poverello House. 

The initiative will be implemented by the VA Central California Healthcare System, the Fresno Housing Authority, the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care, Fresno County and City Hall.

"The mayor has been very enthusiastic about this and has issued a challenge, she would like to raise $100,000 in 100 days for this project," Mihradi says. "It's nice to see all the agencies, plus county and city officials working together to end this problem of chronic homelessness."

25 Cities is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Interagency on Homelessness.

Donations are also being gathered to help fund the initiative. To give visit www.fresnofirststepshome.org.