Binghamton becomes first U.S. city to eliminate veteran homelessness

14 Nov

Binghamton is the first city in the nation to complete a White House Pledge to end veterans homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced Wednesday.

In September, Binghamton Mayor Rich David (R) signed on to the pledge, called ‘Mayor’s Challenge To End Veterans Homelessness.  It’s an initiative started by the White House in June 2014 and led by First Lady Michelle Obama.

The pledge includes identifying housing options for veterans using transitional and government options, finding funding through federal, state, private and faith-based organizations, and coordinating support services for returning and existing veterans.

David said from the moment he signed the pledge, everyone in city hall has worked nonstop to quickly make this happen.

“We didn’t want another winter to pass where homeless veterans in our community would be essentially out in the cold,” David said. “Fortunately, we were able to make progress in a very short period of time.”

David said the model to end veteran homelessness used in Binghamton could have a greater impact.

“I think the model that was put in place in Binghamton will be the model for many of these other mayors who are signing up for this challenge right now,” David added.

HUD said about 250 other cities have signed up for the challenge.

21 veterans were identified as homeless in Binghamton. All of them have a place to sleep as of Wednesday afternoon.

David added that Binghamton’s commitment does not end with this achievement, but rather that no veteran will ever be homeless in the city.