Return The Favor: Helping Homeless Veterans

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – One of the sad situations facing those who fought for our country is homelessness.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 50,000 vets are sleeping on the streets in America every night. Here in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf issued a challenge last year to change that.

“One homeless veteran is too many,” said Chip Gilliland, chief of reintegration and outreach at the Pennsylvania Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.

The governor put the call out to all commonwealth agencies and the community to reduce veteran homelessness. The goal was to permanently house 550 veterans in the last 100 days of the year. At the end of the challenge, they exceeded that by housing 629 vets.

“Just a great community effort out there to not only house the veterans but provide employment assistance or mental health and health benefits,” Gilliland said.

The initiative worked so well, the state continued it. On average, about 200 to 220 vets are helped each month.

Since the challenge began in September of 2015, more than 2200 homeless vets have been placed in permanent housing. But the ultimate goal is to help all of our vets get off the street.

“We as a state, we want to get toward that zero homeless goal and once again provide for our veterans,” Gilliland said. “They sacrifice for our country and they deserve it.”

Several organizations pulled together along with the community to make this happen. The initiative is taking place all across the country. For more information, check out

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