I salute Mayor Michael Nutter's plan to provide aid and hundreds of housing units for the homeless in the City of Philadelphia ("City, PHA have plan to house homeless," May 30).
Many Philadelphians do not know that more than 30 percent of the homeless in our area are veterans. Last year alone, 934 homeless veterans made more than 20,000 visits to the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center to receive immediate services such as showers, laundry, food (165,000 meals were served last year alone), emergency medical and behavioral health care, clothing and transportation, job search and educational assistance.
Similar to other homeless services around the city, the numbers of homeless citizens we help are increasing, but the funding is never enough.
Our center manages 125 transitional living beds, runs an on-site medical and behavioral health clinic and provides extensive employment and training programs for Philadelphia's veterans – critical to helping them get back on their feet.
However, with recent funding cuts it has become increasingly difficult to simply maintain these much needed services to the ever-growing number of homeless veterans. We are constantly faced with an overflow of people needing our assistance. If we can't help them, often these veterans have nowhere else to turn.
Mayor Nutter recognizes the growing need of the city to provide additional aid to all homeless people, including veterans, in Philadelphia. His housing plan is a stepping stone to building a solution to the city's ever-growing problem.
However, we all need to join Mayor Nutter in helping homeless people in Philadelphia by donating food and clothing, supporting fund raising efforts and/or volunteering on street outreach teams, at a shelter or cooking meals. As one united city, contributions from everyone will make a big difference.
Edward J. Lowry
Multi-Service & Education Center