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Abilene, Texas Officially Houses All its Homeless Veterans

The city of Abilene, Texas officially housed all its homeless veterans. In 2019, KTXS 12 News reported that the city accomplished the goal the mayor Anthony Williams announced in October of 2018 to find homes for all veterans without permanent housing.

Last year, Williams challenged the city to find housing for all of Abilene's homeless veterans, which once totaled five percent of the city's homeless population.

"During the 100 days of this challenge, our local housing and service providers redoubled their efforts to house as many veterans as possible in order to make veteran homelessness in Abilene something that is rare, brief, and nonrecurring," the West Texas Homeless Network told KTXS 12 News.

The city is continuing to work to help the remaining homeless population find housing.

Abilene is part of Built For Zero, a movement of over 70 communities working to find housing for the homeless.

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CNN reports that each day in the U.S., 40,000 veterans face homelessness.

Update: A previous version of this article stated that Abilene, Texas is the first city in Texas to house all its homeless veteransThe Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs disputes that Abilene is the first city in Texas to house all of its homeless veterans. Austin, Houston and San Antonio have also ended homelessness among veterans, according to the VA's "Ending Veteran Homelessness" effort.

The Fort Worth Star Telegram explains that the discrepancy is due to what various cities define as "functional zero," a term the Texas Homelessness Network uses to define when "the number of actual homeless veterans in town is less than the number that the city is able to place."

Michelle Parish, grant director at Community Foundation of Abilene, further explained the discrepancy to the Star-Telegram.

"While other cities have reached 'functional zero' under a less stringent measure developed by the VA and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), Abilene has achieved what only 8 other communities have accomplished under the more stringent, Built For Zero measure/standard," Parish said.

This article was updated on Nov. 15, 2019. It was originally published in August of 2019.

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