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TERREBONNE PARISH, LA - Today Parish President Gordon Dove announced that Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government has been certified by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as the second community in the State of Louisiana to functionally end veteran homelessness.
"This is an important victory in our ongoing efforts to make our Parish the best place for veterans to live, work and raise a family. However, we must remain committed to keeping homelessness among veterans rare, brief and non-recurring.” said Parish President Dove.
The announcement is the culmination of efforts that began when Terrebonne Parish made the commitment to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in November of 2014 and pledged to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.
Start Corporation, the Louisiana Coastal Homeless Coalition lead agency, spearheaded this effort by using evidenced-based tools for triaging the needs of identified veterans, making both rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing resources available, as well as incorporating the principles of Housing First throughout the entire spectrum of housing assistance for a veteran. These systems have been streamlined to help a veteran experiencing homelessness to quickly secure permanent housing.
"A private community donor that provided the funding needed to purchase a Veteran’s shelter and the local Houma-Terrebonne Housing Authority have been essential in providing housing stock” stated Start Corporation’s Executive Director, Casey Guidry.The effort to end homelessness relied on partnerships with Louisiana Coastal Homeless Coalition Continuum of Care (CoC) agencies, the VFW, the Rotary Club, private developers, the Terrebonne Parish Department of Housing and Human Services and the Houma-Terrebonne
Housing Authority. Key Federal and State partners included the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Louisiana Housing Corporation.
"VA has made ending homelessness among veterans a top priority, and here at Southeast Louisiana VA we are committed to this goal and are thrilled with the results achieved in Terrebonne Parish," said Fernando Rivera, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System director. "By working with our community partners here in Terrebonne Parish and throughout Louisiana, VA has made a deliberate effort towards ending veteran homelessness. I can assure the community that continued follow-on efforts will take place to make sure the goal is maintained."