In the last five years, the number of veterans among the ranks of the homeless has dropped by over 30 percent, representing massive and significant progress in the urgent effort to end homelessness among veterans. Efforts to build a safety net and path to stability have involved a creative blend of national programs, local expertise and knowledge, and resources from across sectors.
Yet every night in this country, nearly 50,000 veterans still call this nation’s streets and shelters home, in large part due to a lack of affordable housing. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) and our partner Citi are stepping in to help.
On Oct. 5-6, NCHV held the 2015 Veterans Access to Housing Summit, “Drive to December,” a training forum for stakeholders from across the country who are involved in the daily battle to increase affordable housing options for homeless and vulnerable veterans. This two-day intensive training involved small group working sessions with experts on various topics for attendees to address challenges, learn best practices, and formulate action plans to accelerate efforts to end veteran homelessness in their communities. The Housing Summit brought together Federal partners, community agencies, and partners within philanthropy and development to create new affordable housing opportunities.
This event, and the broader-scoped NCHV Annual Conference held in Washington, D.C. every May, would not be possible without the generous support and commitment of Citi Community Development and its Citi Salutes initiative. Since 2012, Citi has been a major partner to NCHV, supporting and participating in major events like this month’s Housing Summit to share their expertise and knowledge with hundreds of community agencies providing housing to homeless and at risk veterans.
Richard Gerwitz, Managing Director of Citi Community Capital, helped kick off the “Drive to December” event, highlighting Citi’s increasing role in creating housing for homeless veterans using existing Low Income Housing Tax Credit programs. Two projects he highlighted were Volunteer of America’s Hope Manor Project in Chicago and the New England Center for Homeless Veterans’ Court Street Project in Boston. Both projects relied on a broad variety of public and private funds to bring the project to fruition and were structured to satisfy the unique nature of the local veteran communities and mission of the sponsors.
Citi’s role in NCHV’s vital training events and the creation of housing only begin to represent the company’s commitment to our nation’s veterans. Citi Salutes, the company’s commitment to the veteran and military community, drives various efforts to provide job readiness skills, employment, and financial education. Since 2012, Citi has partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and National Equity Fund’s Bring Them HOMES initiative, focused on the creation of transitional, supportive, temporary and permanent housing for veterans and their families. To date, this support resulted in the development of over 1,300 new units of permanent supportive housing units for homeless and at-risk veterans.
“Over the past several years Citi has shown by example that they are a corporate leader in the national effort to end veteran homelessness,” said Baylee Crone, NCHV Executive Director. “With their continued partnership, we will end veteran homelessness, and we will work to improve and maintain the system of care that needs to be in place to ensure that our nation never again faces a homelessness crisis among our veterans. Citi has earned its place among the leaders of this historic movement.”