Five suburban counties have reached the federal designation for ending veteran homelessness, the Governor's Office announced on Veterans Day.
Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott and Washington counties, which comprise the Suburban Metro Area Continuum of Care, have found homes for all known unhoused veterans, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs determined.
The Suburban Metro Area Continuum of Care is the sixth Minnesota jurisdiction to achieve this distinction.
The West Central, Southwest, Northwest, and Northeast Continuums of Care declared an end to veteran homelessness in 2017 and 2018, and the River Valleys (Southeast) Continuum of Care declared the milestone in 2019.
Since 2014, Minnesota has used a voluntary Homeless Veterans Registry, which matches veterans with housing, usually within four months.
The registry has helped house more than 2,100 veterans in the last six years, according to the state. In 2019, Minnesota housed a record of more than 500 veterans in one year.
The registry currently lists about 300 veterans.
“Becoming the fourth state in the country to end veteran homelessness has been a priority of our Administration since day one. Today’s announcement, on a day we honor all veterans, is a major accomplishment toward that goal,” said Gov. Tim Walz, who served 24 years in the National Guard, in a press release. “Minnesota veterans have served and sacrificed to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. Once they complete their service, we should ensure they have a safe place to call home.”
Joint efforts by agencies including the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs, Minnesota Housing, Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness, Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, County Veterans Service Officers and shelters were instrumental in finding homes for veterans, the press release said.
“A key to ending veteran homelessness is the partnership with landlords willing to open their doors,” said Jennifer Ho, Minnesota Housing Commissioner, in the release. “Landlords have stepped up in the suburban metro counties and are an inspiration to others that helping a veteran find a new home can be both rewarding and successful.”
Veterans looking for resources can call 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838) or visit minnesotaveteran.org.