Stanton: 56 homeless veterans off Phoenix streets

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- More than 50 homeless veterans will have a roof over their heads this holiday season.

Two months ago, on Veterans Day, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton promised to get all known homeless veterans off the streets by Christmas.

Project H3 Vets, an initiative dedicated to ending veteran homelessness in Phoenix, identified 222 chronically homeless veterans two years ago. More than half of them served in Vietnam.

Stanton announced Thursday that 56 remaining chronically homeless veterans were placed in housing by Wednesday.

On Nov. 12, the day after Stanton's pledge, the Phoenix City Council allocated $100,000 to accelerate the efforts.

"This milestone accomplishment is the result of will, strategy and perseverance," Stanton said in a statement. "We set about this challenge as team with a united purpose, and, as a result, Phoenix can take its place as role model city for gratitude and care towards veterans."

Phoenix sought to become one of the first United States cities to end homelessness among veterans and engaged in a friendly competition with Salt Lake City, Utah.

City officials said each veteran will be transitioned into permanent housing by Feb. 14.

The average amount of time the vets had been homeless was eight years.

President Barack Obama made it a nationwide priority to end chronic veteran homelessness by 2015, and praised Phoenix's progress during an August speech at Desert Vista High School, city officials said.

Phoenix used more than $6.5 million in federal grants and $1.8 million in city general funds to fight homelessness this year, according to city officials.

"The leadership of Mayor Stanton, the entire city council, and key state and federal partners has been critical to our progress in ending chronic homelessness among veterans," Brad Bridwell, the co-chair of the city's Military and Veterans Commission, said in a statement.

"The alignment among all sectors -- government, nonprofits, business and faith -- on this issue has been truly amazing and resulted in real gains for veterans."