Unifying Efforts to End Veteran Homelessness

matthewMatthew Doherty brings a unique and comprehensive perspective to ending homelessness in San Diego. He began his work with the Campaign in the field as the coordinator for Registry Week in 2010, and is now the Director of National Initiatives for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH).

During the Campaign’s 4th Anniversary Celebration, Doherty shared a story of a homeless veteran he encountered during Registry Week. The man was an elderly, African American homeless veteran living under a bridge who was unable to stand up. As Doherty’s team approached him, the veteran said, “I thought no one would come for me.” The veteran ranked as one of the highest and most vulnerable found during their outreach and was placed into a skilled nursing facility due to his extensive medical issues. Doherty echoed the sentiment of many that it is unacceptable for veterans who serve our country to live on the streets. The Campaign and its partners work hard to make housing a reality for chronic homeless individuals and veterans experiencing homelessness in Downtown San Diego.

Doherty also discussed the importance of aligning with national efforts such as the Mayors Challenge and the 25 Cities Initiative. He said that to end veteran homelessness by 2015 we must work together to change the current system.

“It just gives me incredible confidence that we are really starting to understand that we have to act as one in order to address this problem (homelessness) and achieve our goals,” stated Doherty.

“One of the basic tenets of our armed forces is to never leave anyone behind. Veterans deserve that same commitment,” said Jessica Chamberlain, Chief of Social Work Service for the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.