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City of Abilene's Mayor's Challenge to End Veterans' Homelessness is complete

(Jesse Smith/KTXS){p}{/p}
(Jesse Smith/KTXS)

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The West Texas Homeless Network announced that the United States federal government has officially recognized the City of Abilene as one of the few cities in the country to functionally end veterans' homelessness.

"Can this community really end veterans who are neighbors who don't have homes, and we answered that with a yes," said Mayor of Abilene Anthony Williams.

On Thursday morning, many local housing and service providers like Abilene Hope Haven, the United Way of Abilene, Supportive Services for Veteran Families and the Community Foundation of Abilene gathered at the Taylor County Public Health District to celebrate a big achievement.

"It's important to come together and collaborate so we aren't duplicating services," said Katherine Bisson with Abilene Hope Haven. "Also, we are really doing a great job of networking together."

Abilene was the first city in the State of Texas and the ninth city in the nation to eliminate veterans' homelessness.

"I am so proud of this community that is making a commitment to address our most vulnerable neighbors," Williams said.

The completion of the goal was made possible by hitting functional zero for veterans' homelessness, meaning that the number of veterans on the streets within a community is less than the average number of veterans being connected with permanent housing each month.

"Do an intake with them, bring them into our system and then quickly meet them up with the correct provider to provide them the services that they need, then make sure they are housed as quickly as possible," said John Meier with Supportive Services for Veteran Families.

Back in October of 2018, Williams launched the Mayor's Challenge to End Veterans' Homelessness within 100 days.

The goal of the challenge was to find housing for homeless veterans to help them turn their lives around.

Now, the West Texas Homeless Network is aiming to help out people facing chronic homelessness.

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