This morning I plan to announce good news about some funding for homeless military veterans and for those who help them. Several new grants and faith-based partnerships will bring nearly $1.8 million to our City to create 120 new units of supportive housing to help veterans who are homeless get back on their feet.
It is appropriate that we make this announcement today with tens of thousands of members of our armed forces at risk around the world- especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When these men and women return home, we have a responsibility to them. When things go wrong in their lives - especially if it is caused by or related to their tour of duty - we have a responsibility to help.
In St. Louis, about 12 percent of people who are homeless are veterans, many of them dealing with the effects of combat.
With new funding from the federal government and a separate program from the State of Missouri, the City of St. Louis is going to add 115 supportive housing units for homeless veterans. They will also have support services to help them with alcohol or drug addiction, mental illness, and to connect them to job training and jobs. Based on our count of homeless people, these new resources should accommodate almost every veteran who is in need of help in our community.
These two announcements build on our already strong program to end chronic homelessness. With these new facilities, the City will have added 638 beds for homeless people since 2001.
With new resources from the state and federal governments and great work by the public and private sector members of our homeless network, we have made great progress in addressing the needs of chronically homeless people in St. Louis. Our homeless count has dropped by 30% since we implemented the 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in 2005. We now have one of the lower percentages of homelessness in the nation.