San Bernardino County Supervisors
James Ramos & Josie Gonzales
Honoring our veterans is one of the most important duties and responsibilities we have as elected leaders and citizens. Brave men and women who served our military have dedicated their lives and sacrificed time with their families to secure our freedoms and ensure our liberty. We must keep in mind that our veterans often face a different battle upon returning home and reintegrating into their civilian lives—an extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care. Undoubtedly, we owe them more than our gratitude; they deserve our ongoing support and encouragement.
Ending veteran homelessness is a top priority for the County of San Bernardino. In 2015, the Board of Supervisors committed to gathering the resources necessary and establishing a system to identify and address the housing and services needs of veterans entering or returning to homelessness, and veterans at risk of homelessness. As of 2015, the County has housed 450 veterans, but much work remains.
Tonight, thousands of veterans in America will find themselves sleeping on the streets of our great nation. The call to end homelessness needs to be accepted at all levels of our society, from government to neighborly communities that exist thanks to the service of our veterans.
The Liberty Lane Veterans Community Project, to be located five miles from the Loma Linda VA, awaiting the necessary approval from the Redlands City Council, is an opportunity to show our community’s respect towards this selfless population that seldom asks for assistance. The community would consist of 78 units of affordable housing, a community room, laundry and additional kitchen facilities, a technology and computer room, and administrative and social service offices. In addition, wraparound support services would be available through a partnership between the County’s Department of Behavioral Health and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
The County of San Bernardino, along with elected officials representing the area of the proposed project, is dedicated to the development of service-enriched supportive housing for homeless veterans and strongly encourages the Redlands City Council and its citizens to support the Liberty Lane Veterans Community Project.
Many cities across America have made significant strides toward achieving functional zero, and some have reached the goal of ending veteran homelessness. In fact, nearly 40 communities and 3 states have met the requirements within the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness’ Criteria and Benchmarks for Achieving the Goal of Ending Veteran Homelessness.
There are those who believe that visible homelessness in a community means the area is a hotbed. The truth is that certain social and economic conditions in our communities are what enable and sustain the problem of homelessness. If we expect our communities to prosper, then we must consider everyone that makes up our society, which includes helping those who have fallen on hard times and preventing future pitfalls.
Redlands, a community that prides itself on showcasing its appreciation toward those who have served our country, has the opportunity to welcome them into a diverse city that works! Embracing our veterans and their families is a small request in comparison to the sacrifices they have made for all of us.
Please stand with our veterans and help us house our heroes.
Josie Gonzales and James Ramos are members of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. Gonzales serves as Chair of the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH), the policy making body for the Homeless Provider Network (HPN). Ramos serves as Chair of the Homeless Youth Taskforce and as a member of ICH. ICH, HPN and the Office of Homeless Services work together to ensure that the recommendations listed in the county’s ten-year strategy to end homelessness are realized.