Secretary Ben Carson
Thursday, August 2, 2018
Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., Announces an End to Veteran Homelessness in Miami-Dade County, Florida
Good morning, and thank you, Denise, for your kind introduction. Congressman Diaz-Balart, Mayor Gimenez, I am pleased to join all of you today to recognize the years of hard work that stand behind a great milestone that has been achieved in Miami-Dade County—an end to veteran homelessness.
Effectively ending veteran homelessness is a significant victory. By reaching this goal, you are joining a national movement, along with 63 other communities—cities such as Kansas City and Pittsburgh and even the states of Virginia and Delaware!
Ending homelessness isn’t some lofty goal or a public declaration—it involves the challenging work of creating a system to ensure that when homelessness happens, it’s rare, brief and non-recurring.
Miami-Dade County has decreased the number of veterans experiencing homelessness and built a system that supports long-term, lasting solutions. You accomplished this while coordinating a local response to last year’s hurricanes and responding to the many families who fled their homes in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What you did required vision, dedication and partners coming together and refusing to accept the notion that this is a problem too big to solve. There has been significant coordination with the Miami V-A Healthcare System, the local housing authority, and an extensive network of other committed partners and providers—all answered the call.
We need our veterans to flourish. We need their contributions, their skills, and their love of country. They’re vital to our national character, to our spirit, to the very soul of democracy itself. Their sacrifices remain the foundation of our liberties—the rock upon which our economy rests.
Once a soldier, sailor, airman, marine, or coastguardsman completes their duty, we MUST make it our duty to help them transition to civilian life, and when there is a derailment, we must be there to get them back on track.
While we gather today to celebrate a goal reached, we must also recognize our work never ends. In fact, the numbers tell us we still have work to do.
According to HUD’s most recent Point-In-Time count, local communities across the country reported approximately 40-thousand veterans were in shelters or living on the streets. Throughout Florida, nearly 28-hundred veterans are experiencing homelessness.
In spite of all the political disagreements we’re having today, this is one issue that we ALL agree on. And because this issue is nonpartisan, we’ve made tremendous progress as a nation to reduce homelessness.
They say all housing is local and it’s especially true when it comes to homelessness. In some high-cost areas, homelessness is actually on the rise. But we’re also seeing that when local communities take a laser-focused approach to homelessness, like you are doing here, the numbers are greatly reduced.
Across the country, homelessness among veterans has fallen nearly 50 percent since 2010, prompting a number of States and local communities to declare an effective end to veteran homelessness in their areas. 63, make that 64, communities, across 33 different states have effectively ended veterans' homelessness in their communities.
The decline in veterans' homelessness is largely attributed to the close collaboration between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). For example, since 2010, more than 480--thousand veterans and their family members have been permanently housed, rapidly rehoused, or prevented from falling into homelessness in the first place.
We accomplished this through a joint program called the HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program…or HUD-VASH. It’s a marvelous partnership that is really driving down veteran homelessness, providing permanent housing solutions.
HUD is working closely with medical centers and the VA to address long-term, chronic homelessness. We’re working to overcome some of the root causes of homelessness through aggressive street outreach and case management…and then connecting those Veterans with housing. It’s hard. You know that.
But as a compassionate country, we will not stand idly by while veterans call the streets their home. We believe in each-and-every one of us living up to our God-given potential and having the opportunity to thrive - regardless of race, color or creed - and we cannot accept anything less for the individuals who sacrifice for these principles.
Thank you again for helping America live up to, and to honor more deeply, our duty to our men and women in uniform. Together we will dramatically improve the situation and the opportunities for these deserving Americans, assist them as they regain control of their lives, and ensure they enjoy the freedoms they helped preserve.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless our veterans. And God bless this country.