KOKOMO — The United States Government added Indiana's Region 5 to the list of communities that have ended veteran homelessness across the country, the City of Kokomo announced on Wednesday. The first community in Indiana to do so.
Region 5 is located in north-central Indiana and is comprised of six counties: Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Tipton and Wabash. The region's largest city is Kokomo.
In a letter addressed to Mayor Tyler Moore, R-Kokomo, several federal departments — the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — confirm that the Indiana Region 5 Planning Council, part of the Indiana Balance of State Continuum of Care (IN-502), has effectively ended homelessness among Veterans.
The letter, issued March 9, states:
"We are confident that the infrastructure and systems you have built will ensure that any Veteran experiencing homelessness in the region will get the support they need to quickly obtain a permanent home.
On behalf of USICH and our federal partners, we recognize and appreciate your extraordinary team and look forward to continuing our collaboration as we work to end homelessness for all Americans."
The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) serves as the "collaborative applicant" for the Indiana Balance of State Continuum of Care, which the Region 5 Planning Council takes part in. The Region 5 Planning Council consists of several organizations in Cass, Wabash, Howard and Tipton counties, according to a release from the city.
“Every day we make sure we are working to take care of Veterans in our community. We are immensely proud of the work our local agencies and organizations have done, and continue to do, in assisting Veterans in their greatest time of need. This is another example of great teamwork, and is quite an honor for Howard County,” Paul Wyman, the Howard County Commissioner, said.
According to the city, the countless organizations that have helped them house veterans includes: Family Service Association- Jackson Street Commons, United Way-Mission United, Coordinated Assistance Ministries, Kokomo Rescue Mission, Emmaus Mission, Kokomo Housing Authority, Indiana Department of Veteran’s Affairs (IDVA) the Veterans Committee-HMIS, Coordinated Entry committee, and the Veterans Administration through the use of HUD VASH Vouchers, and Supportive Services for Veterans and Families.
There are certain requirements that the USICH state must be met in order for a city, region or community to be certified as ending veteran homelessness. That criteria includes identifying all veterans in the area experiencing homelessness, providing shelter, providing transitional and permanent housing and more.
Since the USICH's launch in 2014, 82 communities and three states have ended veteran homelessness, and four communities have ended chronic and veteran homeless.
“The City of Kokomo could not be more proud of the efforts of so many agencies working together to achieve this incredible status and recognition. Our local Veterans deserve as much as we can give them, and so knowing that Kokomo and Howard County have succeeded in providing the most basic necessity that many of our homeless Veterans need is very exciting. Again, special thanks for all the agencies involved that have helped the community achieve this," Mayor Moore stated in a release to WRTV.