Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, along with several officials from the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, announced this morning a recent “surge” that put 418 veterans on the path to permanent housing.

“I believe more than ever we have the right resources and the right processes to fight for our Veterans the way they fought for us” said Dyer during a press conference at the new VA Hospital at Lake Nona “We now have more information than ever to help us reach our goals”

Veterans Surge was an initiative sending volunteers out on the streets of Central Florida to identify homeless veterans, document information and enter them into a system, which begins the process of finding shelter. The region adopted a “housing first” approach that takes the homeless population off of the street, placing them in housing with easily access to additional services such as mental health treatment and vocational assistance. Funds for the initiative comes from the federal level by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“You want to create a system that is sustainable. When we talk about ending homelessness we talk about ending the predicament where you can’t find help” Jacobs told reporters after the announcement “We have to reach out to people and let them know how to find the help they need. That’s the system that we’re building and when we’re done it will be there forever”

The initiative to finally solve the longstanding homelessness problem in the region, has made progress over the past year due to public and private partnerships between Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties, as well as private organizations like Florida Hospital.

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