ROCKFORD, Ill. — The city of Rockford has taken steps to end veteran homelessness in its community. Roughly 73 veterans have moved off the streets and into permanent housing in Rockford, making that city the latest to end veteran homelessness.
At the same time, the city set a new, higher standard for eliminating homelessness among vets.
Rockford becomes one of at least 15 cities — including New Orleans, Philadelphia, Houston, and the whole state of Virginia to eradicate involuntary veteran homelessness.
That means any veteran who wants permanent housing has received it. It doesn’t count veterans who opt out of permanent housing, consciously choosing to remain on the streets.
The Rockford achievement goes further than that. They became the first city to reach something called “functional zero” — meaning a city must be placing more veterans into permanent housing faster than veterans are ending up on the city’s street.
Currently, there are less than eight veterans opting out of permanent housing in the entire city.
It also requires a plan in place that ensures each newly discovered homeless veteran will be living in permanent housing within a month.
Since 2010, veteran homelessness in America has been cut nearly in half, thanks to a cities, counties, and states stepping up efforts to meet a challenge from First Lady Michelle Obama to eliminate it.