City hopes to get homeless veteran population to functional zero by 2024
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - The City of Wichita is partnering with United Way of the Plains, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and Sedgwick County to effectively end veteran homelessness in Wichita by the end of next year.
"Homelessness is a complex social issue," says United Way of the Plains president Pete Najera. "And it will take a collective community response to bring it to functional zero."
The City of Wichita's Housing and Community Services department will play a crucial role in achieving the goal.
Director Sally Stang said that the department plans to work with landlords on finding a way to provide the roughly 32 veterans a place to stay.
"We're gonna have to prove that we've got a system in play that as new veterans enter into homelessness, it's brief and non recurring, and that we have systems in place to quickly move them into housing," Stang said.
Although Veteran Homelessness remains an urgent issue in Wichita, VA director Chandra Miller said that a lot has been done recently to help bring the number down to what it is today and she is confident the city can reach this goal.
"Locally, we contributed to that effort by providing housing for 115 veterans experiencing homelessness, exceeding our goal for the year by nearly 12%," Miller said.
Mayor Brandon Whipple admits it will be tough to achieve zero homelessness among Veterans, but he is confident this new united front can get the job done, saying he hopes the city can focus on chronic homelessness once the goal is reached.
"I think that with the VA here, it's an indication that there are services that are funded by the federal government that we can actually integrate at a more local level, and even come alongside and hopefully make those services more effective," Whipple said.
If you are or know of a veteran in need of assistance, you can call the VA at 877-424-3838.