Community-wide Responses

Affordable Housing Initiative: Homeless and At-Risk Veterans

Washington, D.C.(Population 632,323)

Program Type: Public/Private Community Response

Project Contact: Matt Cary, Director of D.C. Office of Veterans Affairs,

Cities can help coordinate services and build bridges. Washington, D.C. has many stakeholders invested in veterans’ issues. The D.C. Office of Veterans Affairs helps keep city officials and the community informed on veterans’ issues and the range of services available. The agency’s collaborative partnerships help fill the gap between needs and services received.

Structure programs to meet community needs using available resources. D.C. has committed to tackling veteran homelessness as evidenced not only by their budget, but also by reshaping services to more effectively provide permanent supportive housing for veterans.
By establishing partnerships with area stakeholders and committing to providing housing and supportive services, D.C. has seen a 29 percent decrease in veteran homelessness over the last four years. Read More...

Veterans Housing Project

Eugene, OR (population 129,067)

Project type: Public/Private Partnership 

Project contact: Jon Ruiz, City Manager,


Located approximately 2 hours south of Portland, OR, the City of Eugene is home to an Oregon National Guard Unit, as well as a U.S. Army Reserve Unit. Despite having a relatively light military footprint, the community is seeing the impact of an average of 150-300 veterans returning to Oregon each month from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the fall of 2011, community leaders including the City Manager, General Manager of the City’s Water and Electric Board, Executive Director of the area’s St. Vincent DePaul Society, and the President of the county’s Home Builders Association came together to address the challenges many veterans face in making the transition to civilian life after deployment. They recognized that finding a suitable place to live, while a veteran and their family put in place the stable and sustainable pieces of a successful transition, can be one of the biggest barriers to reintegration.  Read More

Returning Veteran Initiative

Houston, TX (population 1,593,227)

Project type: Public/Private Community Response

Project contact: Buddy Grantham, Director of Veterans’ Affairs,

The City of Houston and the surrounding five counties are home to nearly 370,000 veterans, almost one in four of all veterans living in Texas. An estimated 22,000 of these men and women are veterans of the wars in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom), one of the largest populations of OEF/OIF veterans in the country.

In early 2007, the need to coordinate services to better serve returning veterans became a cause of concern for area leaders, including former Houston Mayor Bill White and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. To begin a conversation about what could be done, leaders from the military, faith-based community, non-profits, educational institutions, service organizations, and all levels of government convened to hear directly from returning soldiers, as well as experts and other concerned parties.  Read More

Peak Military Care Network 

Colorado Springs, CO (population 312,291)

Project Type: Public/Private Community Partnership

Project Contact: Kate Hatten, Military Impact Planning Program Manager, Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments,

Key take-aways:

  • Progress is made when municipal officials and other community stakeholders provide committed and consistent leadership. 

  • Process started by identifying the area's priority need. Colorado Springs focused on improving behavioral health services rather than attempting to work in multiple areas.

  • Centralize the location of information and resources, ensuring the information is regularly updated and formatted in a standardized manner.   Read more

Project H3: VETS and the HERO Initiative

Phoenix, AZ (population 1,488,750)

Program Type: Public/Private Partnership

Project contacts: 

Jodi Liggett, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Mayor,

Bethany Samaddar, Senior Policy Advisor, HERO Initiative - Office of the Mayor,

Brad Bridwell, Community Development Director, Cloudbreak Communities,

Key take-aways:

  • Phoenix is on target to end chronic veteran homelessness by June 2014.

  • Local leadership is necessary to ignite broader community support for veterans' issues.

  • City led collaboration can result in better targeting of existing resources to those in need. Read more

Enhanced Use Lease

Silver Star ApartmentsBedford Charter Township (population: 9,357) and Battle Creek, MI (population: 52,093)

Program Type: Enhanced Use Lease

Contact: Nate Rykse, Medallion Management

Key take-aways: 

  • The Federal VA has designated unused land and assets on VA campuses throughout the country that can be leased to a non-federal entity for the purposes of providing affordable housing to homeless and at-risk veterans.

  • City officials can support these opportunities by working with developers and property managers around development and operational issues, as well as helping to mediate any community concerns. Read more