- Associated Press - Saturday, November 28, 2015

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - Las Cruces is among 13 cities in the country to functionally end veteran homelessness, and advocates say Albuquerque and Santa Fe aren’t far behind.

New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness Executive Director Hank Hughes says both Albuquerque and Santa Fe are expected to functionally end veteran homelessness by the end of the year.

It’s been six months since Las Cruces became the first city in New Mexico to identify all homeless veterans and house or shelter those who will accept help, The Albuquerque Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1XtoTik ).

Mesilla Valley Community of Hope Executive Director Nicole Martinez says “functional zero” partially means there are enough resources to sustain the plan.

“For us, that means continuing to have a veteran preference for housing, running and operating housing programs and hoping that we continue to receive funding from the VA,” she said.

Hughes says funds from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are driving these efforts.

“It seems like one thing Congress and the president can agree to put money into,” he said.

An Albuquerque spokeswoman says functional zero should be reached by December. City organizations have housed 404 homeless veterans since January.

“I don’t want to confuse the public: There are homeless vets that are out there still,” said Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima. “But it’s a significant achievement for our Community of Hope and all our partners there.”


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com



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