Sussex County Looking to End Veteran Homelessness - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Looking to End Veteran Homelessness

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At a symposium on Thursday morning, officials from the Sussex County Council, as well as towns such as Blades, Seaford, Georgetown, and Bridgeville, made a commitment to end veteran homelessness in 2015. (Photo: WBOC) At a symposium on Thursday morning, officials from the Sussex County Council, as well as towns such as Blades, Seaford, Georgetown, and Bridgeville, made a commitment to end veteran homelessness in 2015. (Photo: WBOC)

GEORGETOWN, Del. - Veteran James Mifflin knows the struggles of homelessness far too well. After being forced to leave a condemned home in March, he spent a week on the streets, searching for a place to stay. 

"Having no place to go," he said. "It's just hopelessness."

Mifflin was eventually able to get help from "Connections Community Support Programs," and found a home in Georgetown. But unfortunately this is not the case for many Delaware veterans. 

At a symposium on Thursday morning, officials from the Sussex County Council, as well as towns such as Blades, Seaford, Georgetown, and Bridgeville, made a commitment to end veteran homelessness in 2015. This is part of a federal initiative, started by first lady Michelle Obama called the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in 2015.

The initiative is part of a broader federal plan called Opening Doors. This program seeks to eliminate "chronic homelessness" by 2017 and "family homelessness" by 2020. 

The goal is ambitious but possible, according to Maria Bynum, the field office director for the Delaware Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

"It is possible," she said. "The city of Phoenix. The city of New Orleans. They've ended veteran homelessness already. So it's possible." 

In Delaware there are 277 homeless veterans, according to the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware. That includes 57 in Sussex County and 36 in Kent County. 

Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent is a veteran himself, and said that he would not be happy until the number of homeless veterans is zero. 

"I think we owe those people," he said. "And not just a thank you or a pat on the back. If someone is down on their luck - if someone is homeless - we need to be able to helm them find a place to stay." 

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