With the leadership of City of Trenton Mayor Jackson and Mercer County Executive Hughes, and the strategic focus of the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness, the Trenton/Mercer community has achieved the goal of ending veterans’ homelessness. Veterans were defined, for the purpose of the plan, as all those who have been in the US Military or the National Guard, regardless of their discharge status.
Partnership with government, non-profit homeless service providers and the veteran’s community were essential to this effort. In 2014, the Trenton/Mercer COC Singles Planning Committee recognized the need to develop a Veteran Ad Hoc Committee. Under the leadership of the Mercer Alliance, the Veterans Committee began to look at data and the issues and solutions for addressing veteran’s homelessness. In early 2015, The Mercer Alliance convened a committee of these partners to develop a strategy and begin implementation. It was important to engage everyone in the task of identifying every homeless veteran in the community. This required a special effort on the part of the Rescue Mission, the shelter for homeless singles and the agencies who provide street outreach in the community, Catholic Charities and Oaks Integrated Care. It required an active collaboration with veteran service providers, Soldier On and Community Hope, as well as the Veterans Administration.
This collaboration has proved successful; we identified 79 homeless veterans and as of December 1, 2015, have housed all individuals on our Master list.