Ten-Year Plan Commission - March 12, 2014
Winston-Salem is among the 16 founding cities in the Homeless Veteran Leadership Network, an initiative organized by the National League of Cities challenging cities to end veteran homelessness by 2015.
Winston-Salem has been actively working to reduce homelessness through the efforts of the Ten-Year Plan Commission, an advisory board appointed by the City Council and the Forsyth County Commissioners to implement the recommendations of the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. The plan was adopted in 2006. The United Way of Forsyth County provides staff support for the commission and oversees its day-to-day activities.
For veterans, the commission compiled grants and donations to build a transitional housing facility with 24 beds for homeless disabled veterans, and it offers supportive services to formerly homeless veterans and helps them transition to permanent housing. The commission also helped the Veterans Administration and the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem secure 105 housing vouchers for homeless veterans in Forsyth County, and it is advising Whole Man Ministries of North Carolina with its initiative to renovate five duplexes to house homeless veterans, said Andrea Kurtz, the senior director of housing strategies for the United Way.
“We have been working closely with the VA Medical Center, and they have been working with us, to make sure all homeless veterans are connected to community-based services so they don’t fall through the cracks,” Kurtz said.
Also participating in the Homeless Veteran Leadership Network are Saint Paul, Minn.; Des Moines, Iowa; Columbus, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Salt Lake City; Phoenix; Minneapolis; New Orleans; Miami; Eugene, Ore.; Joplin, Mo.; Waco, Texas; Charlotte; Little Rock, Ark.; and Pittsburgh.
The league is working to identify additional cities to join the network in the hope of having comparable cities engage in a “friendly competition” to be the first to end veteran homelessness in their community, said Elisha Harig-Blaine, the NLC’s senior associate for veterans and special needs.