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Salt Lake City Mayor Marks Final Push to Eliminate Chronic Homeless Among Vets

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Bob Nelson
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Salt Lake City’s mayor announced a plan today to provide housing for the last few remaining homeless veterans.  The announcement came as part of the annual Stand Down event at the V-A Medical Center.  Mayor Ralph Becker says it’s taken federal, state and local agencies and private business to create this incredible outreach program.

“It disturbs me that we don’t recognize that the federal government is here to serve us and that this is a prime example of making a huge difference in the lives of the people in our community,” says Mayor Becker.

Kimber Parry of the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing, known as HUD VASH, is the organizer of Stand Down. She says this Vietnam-era tradition seems to be drawing fewer chronically homeless vets these days and she sees that as a good thing.

“I’m hoping that this is a sign that we’ve been able to reach out and house those people that are homeless that we see year after year after year,” says Parry.

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Credit Bob Nelson
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Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker (sitting) signs proclamation making November Veterans Housing Month. Pictured on far right is veteran Darrel Stage (in white hoodie), one of the first residents of Valor House, a partnership of the Salt Lake Housing Authority and the VA.

Darrel Stage is one of those vets getting help from the outreach program as one of the first residents of the Valor House, a partnership of the Housing Authority of Salt Lake and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Thanks to a lot of folks that I see around me, I stand before you just proud. I’m glad to be alive.”

The goal is to reach the 39 homeless veterans left on the streets of Salt Lake.  That would match the goal set by V-A Secretary Eric Shinseki, who’s challenged each state to house 100 veterans in 100 days.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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