After finding housing for 85 homeless veterans in 100 days last fall, Westchester County is embarking on a second 100-day challenge with the goal of housing 75 more veterans and finding jobs for 45.
County Executive Rob Astorino announced the initiative Thursday morning at a press conference at the county office building in White Plains.
The challenge is part of the national 100,000 Homes initiative, which has a goal of finding homes for 100,000 homeless individuals and families by July. Karl Bertrand, one of the leaders of the local campaign, called the Patriot Housing Initiative, said they hope to end homelessness among veterans in Westchester by the end of the year.
The annual count of the homeless, done Wednesday night, found about 140 homeless vets in transitional housing at the VA in Montrose and about 24 in Westchester shelters, he said.
“We’re not aware of a single homeless vet in all of Westchester County sleeping on the streets,” Bertrand said.
Curtis Ross, a Navy veteran who spoke at the press conference, said he became homeless about two years ago and wound up in a shelter. There he was linked up with services at the VA, where he was given transitional housing and other help. Now he’s in his own apartment in Verplanck.
“Things have changed in my life where I can have family and friends come over,” and he can spend time with his grandkids, he said. And he still gets support from the VA to address lingering issues.
Astorino asked for help from apartment owners and employers willing to work with the county to reach its goals. John Ravitz of the Westchester Business Council said he would put out a call to all its members.