WHITE PLAINS, NY — In celebration of the 4th of July, Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino today announced that the county’s Patriot Housing Initiative continues to successfully help keep Veterans from homelessness throughout Westchester. Since the Patriot Housing Initiative was launched in August of 2013 with the goal of ending homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015, permanent housing has been secured for over 300 previously homeless veterans.
“During times when we prepare to celebrate or honor national holidays like Memorial Day, Veterans Day and this coming Monday, Independence Day, we’re reminded of our freedoms and those who sacrificed so that we may enjoy those freedoms,” said Astorino. “Our veterans have always been there for us, and we need to be there for them if the need ever arises and we are doing just that.”
Astorino credited the extraordinary cooperation between the county Veterans Service Agency, local governments, non-profit housing and service providers, and private sector partners including local landlords who agree to give veterans priority in the renting of available units.
“To have housed 368 homeless vets is a proud moment for this initiative and our county,” said Ron Tocci, Director of Veterans Services. “We are at functional zero in veteran homelessness and we will remain vigilant to keep it that way.”
Astorino added that anyone aware of a veteran recently homeless and living on the street should contact the 24-hour VA hotline at 1-877-4AIDVET (1-877-424-3838).
Karl Bertrand, co-chair of the Westchester County Continuum of Care Partnership for the Homeless and the Patriot Housing Initiative and Thomas DeFilippo, the HOPE Community Services Outreach/Housing Specialist who found Sarge, spoke about the importance and effectiveness of this program.
United States Navy Veteran Alvin Cook, also known as “Sarge,” spoke at this morning’s press conference, sharing his moving experience with the initiative and the programs that helped save his life. Sarge was homeless for at least five years before he was placed into supportive housing designated for Veterans