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For Immediate Release: Friday, December 18, 2015

Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal, who serves as chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee, at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 21, will host a press conference at the Council Office Building in Rockville in the third floor conference room announcing that $500,000 in funding appropriated by the Council was used to house 18 homeless veterans and helped the County to provide housing for every identifiable homeless veteran. The County has also submitted certification requests to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Zero 2016 Campaign, and Councilmember Leventhal anticipates an announcement about the findings in the coming days.  


Councilmember Leventhal will be joined by Councilmembers Craig Rice and Sidney Katz; Susie Sinclair-Smith, executive director, Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless; Susan Kirk, executive director, Bethesda Cares; Uma Ahluwalia, director, Department of Health and Human Services. Other invited guests include: veterans who now have stable housing; Nan Roman, president and CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness; Matthew Doherty, executive director, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness; and Stacy Spann, executive director, Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County.


The County committed to ending homelessness for veterans by setting a goal to move 58 veterans experiencing homelessness into permanent housing by December 31, 2015. So far this year, the County has provided housing for 53 veterans. By the end of the year, 58 veteran households will have housing or a permanent housing plan.


“Housing every identifiable homeless veteran in Montgomery County has always been and continues to be one of my top priorities,” said Councilmember George Leventhal. “Montgomery County now has a coordinated and efficient system, which has been developed with our community partners to ensure that every veteran in our County has access to the supports needed to move quickly from homelessness to permanent housing.  Providing a stable home for our veterans is simply the right thing to do for those who have sacrificed so much for our country.”      


County funding to house homeless veterans was in jeopardy because of proposed cuts recommended as part of the Fiscal Year 2016 Savings Plan. The Council’s Health and Human Services Committee and the Council restored $500,000 to fund the housing resources needed as part of Montgomery’s Zero 2016 Plan.


Montgomery County’s Zero 2016 Plan was developed with a primary focus on the rapid exit of veterans from homelessness to permanent, sustainable housing. This plan was developed as the result of collaborative discussions among the County’s Department of Health and Human Services, family and single adult shelter providers, veterans groups, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veterans Families and others. This group reviewed the homeless continuum of care to determine what federal, state and local resources were available and the strategies necessary to specifically address veteran homelessness.


Achieving a “functional zero” for homeless veterans does not mean that there will never be a veteran experiencing homelessness, but future homeless veterans will be housed quickly because of the systems in place and the ability to mobilize resources.


The community collaboration that has worked together to achieve this goal includes the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, Bethesda Cares, the County’s Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs DC Medical Center and others.  


County Cable Montgomery recently profiled one of the veterans who received permanent housing on Veterans Day. The link to this story is


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Release ID: 15-417
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939, Delphine Harriston 240-777-7931