End Veterans Homelessness in NJ by 2015

Mayor’s Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness
Only Three NJ Mayors Accepted the Challenge

Maria T. Maio-MessanoIn an August 1, 2014, op-ed in the Star-Ledger – Let’s make sure all NJ veterans have homes by 2015 – Holly M. Leicht and Maria Maio-Messano made the case for more mayors to support Mayor’s Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness.

Holly M. Leicht is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s administrator for Region II/New York and New Jersey. Maria Maio-Messano is the New Jersey field office director for HUD.

Homelessness is a chronic problem in the United States and its eradication is a top priority of the Obama administration. Unfortunately, there are few better examples of this growing crisis than the situation here in New Jersey, where homelessness increased nearly 16 percent between 2013 and 2014. Fortunately, what we know is that we can’t solve this problem from the top down — it requires the dedicated partnership of local governments.

That’s why HUD recently launched the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, an initiative aimed at building a national coalition of mayors and other public officials committed to ending veteran homelessness in their cities by the end of 2015. The brave men and women who have given so much of themselves to protect our lives and liberty deserve to have a place to call home, and all levels of government are joining forces to make sure that they do.

So far, 157 mayors, five governors and five county executives in the nation have signed on to the Mayors Challenge. Jersey City Mayor Stephen Fulop — a Marine Corps veteran of the war in Iraq — was the first in New Jersey to join the Mayors Challenge. And recently, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer committed to the cause. But there’s much more work to be done in New Jersey.

We are calling on all mayors in the state to join in this effort to ensure that by the end of 2015, no veterans in New Jersey will be homeless.

Said Leicht and Maio-Messano.

With 565 municipalities and 21 counties, NJ can and must do better than three to accept the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness. Can you help NJ meet the challenge? To accept the challenge a Mayor or County Executive or Freeholder needs to send an email to HUD committing to work to end veterans homelessness by 2015.

Click here for an overview of the Mayor’s Challenge initiative.

Click here for more information specifically for Mayors and Staff.

Click here to read the full op-ed.