City of Atlanta Hosts Veterans Rally
Government, corporate and nonprofit partners celebrate community partnerships that support veterans
The City of Atlanta hosted a Veterans Rally today to celebrate and raise awareness about the partnerships and programs that support veterans, including homeless veterans and veterans with special needs in Atlanta.
“It is unacceptable that each night, hundreds of veterans who have courageously risked their lives to keep our country safe are among those sleeping on Atlanta’s streets,” Mayor Kasim Reed said. “We are doing something to correct that, and we have made tremendous progress thanks to strong support in the non-profit and faith communities as well as at the federal, state and county levels. My administration will continue to work hard to ensure that those who are chronically homeless get the right type of support they need at the right time and that our efforts put them on the path to sustainable housing.”
As part of the celebration, leaders and elected officials from the City of Atlanta, the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), DeKalb County, Fulton County, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and United Way of Greater Atlanta spoke about successful collaborative efforts to address veteran homelessness. Both the Mayor’s “Unsheltered No More” Initiative and HUD’s “Dedicating Opportunities to End Homelessness” initiative are aimed at putting the city on a path to meet President Obama’s goal of ending veteran homelessness across the country by 2015.
“Working hand in hand with the City, our tri-jurisdictional partners DeKalb and Fulton County, VA and our other federal partners as part of the Administration’s Opening Doors program—the first federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness-- we are seeing the fruit of that collaborative effort as our homeless veterans are moving from a life of homelessness to a life of hope and increased opportunity,” said Ada Holloway, HUD Director of Public Housing for Georgia. ”There remains much to do and there are challenges ahead but we are making progress thanks to our combined efforts to make a difference in the lives of those that have gallantly and courageously served us and our nation.”
Representatives from The Home Depot Foundation and United Parcel Service also spoke about their efforts to provide housing and employment for veterans. The Home Depot Foundation has committed more than $80 million to veterans housing initiatives nationally since 2011, with grants totaling $3.2 million made in Atlanta. With a commitment to hire more than 25,000 veterans in the next five years, UPS currently employs more than 850 veterans in the Metro Atlanta Area.
Special guests included the North Atlanta High School ROTC team, retired Major and singer Carlos W. Morgan, Atlanta StoryCorps, and Tuskegee Airman and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Val Archer, who presented a selection of art and artifacts from the Georgia Walk of Heroes. More than 40 organizations that directly serve veterans also hosted information tables.
The Veterans Rally was sponsored by The Home Depot Foundation and organized by the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which leads the “Unsheltered No More” initiative to dramatically reduce street homelessness. Funded by a $3.3 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Innovation Delivery Team brings rigorous focus and best-in-class practice to identifying powerful solutions, developing implementation plans, and then managing for results.