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Phoenix gets company as Salt Lake City also ends veterans’ homelessness

PHOENIX — A friendly competition between Salt Lake City and Phoenix is over and both cities achieved their goal to end chronic homelessness among military veterans.

Phoenix said it reached that goal in mid-December and now Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said his Utah city has also accomplished that task. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton gave his fellow mayor kudos.

“If they say they’ve tied us that’s fine with me. The goal is to help veterans on the street in Phoenix and across the country. I’m proud of what Salt Lake City has accomplished,” he said.

In early November there were 56 homeless veterans on the streets of Phoenix but a $100,000 allocation of funds enabled the city to house them all.

Stanton said Phoenix needs to “up its game” and put an end to chronic homelessness for everyone.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, veteran homelessness has declined by 24 percent nationally since 2010 but there are still almost 58,000 homeless veterans nationwide.

Phoenix used more than $6.5 million in federal grants and $1.8 million in city money to combat homelessness in 2013.