PHOENIX, AZ (STL.News) Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Housing today announced $500,000 for the United States Veterans Initiative to support its efforts to ensure veterans experiencing homelessness have safe, adequate living conditions.
This announcement comes on the first day of Tom Simplot’s new role as Director of the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) and follows Wednesday’s announcement of $508 million in new federal funding to address homelessness and housing instability throughout the state.
“We need to make sure we’re taking care of those who have done so much to protect our nation,” said Governor Ducey. “Yesterday, I appointed Tom Simplot to Director of the Arizona Department of Housing to strengthen our state’s efforts to combat homelessness and housing instability. Today’s funding takes these efforts a step further in supporting Arizonans, while ensuring veterans in need have safe housing. I’m grateful to Director Simplot for his leadership on this issue and to all Arizonans who are working hard to help those who served our nation.”
Earlier this year, the City of Phoenix purchased a property in Downtown Phoenix to expand housing opportunities for Arizona veterans experiencing homelessness. The $500,000 from the State will allow the United States Veterans Initiative (U.S. Vets) to complete the immediate health, safety and occupancy needs for their program and operations to move to the new facility later this year.
“Veteran homelessness is a national problem that we’re tackling head on in Arizona,” said ADOH Director Simplot. “Providing veterans with resources, shelter and protection is a must — and I’m proud that this is the first project I’m taking on as Director. I am grateful to Governor Ducey and U.S. Vets for their work to support veterans experiencing homelessness in Arizona.”
ADOH will continue to work with U.S. Vets to ensure a smooth transition as they enter the new facility.
“We are so excited and grateful to Governor Ducey and the Arizona Department of Housing,” said U.S.VETS – Phoenix’s Executive Director Michelle Jameson. “This is a big step forward for our mission to end veteran homelessness.”
Veteran homelessness makes up over nine percent of all adults experiencing homelessness in the United States, with an estimated 40,056 veterans experiencing homelessness in America on any given day. In 2019, roughly 802 veterans in Arizona identified as homeless.
U.S. Vets in Phoenix was created to provide housing and services specifically designed for homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. Since its inception in 2001, it has served more than 10,000 veterans with approximately 250 veterans currently living in the organization’s facility and other supportive housing units. It is the nation’s largest provider of housing services for homeless veterans and their families.
Today’s funding for U.S. Vets to combat homelessness and housing instability among veterans comes from the Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund.
The new initiative is one of many put in place to support Arizona veterans and their families. On April 15, the Governor signed legislation to prevent veteran suicide and ensure veterans receive the support and resources they need.