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Niagara Falls helping homeless vets

Niagara Falls is joining the the push to end homelessness of veterans. It's part of a national push from the Federal Housing and Urban Development Department.

The effort called "Opening Doors" is part of a strategic plan to work with all levels of government and non-profits to put all veterans into housing.

Regional HUD Administrator Holly Leicht says it's not easy because the situation of each veteran in each hometown is different. Still, since 2010, the drive has led to a 24 percent reduction in homelessness among veterans.

"It doesn't just look at getting them into a home, but also provides all the accompanying services that are necessary to really recognize the needs of the individual as a whole." Leicht explained.

"This isn't just about finding an apartment, it's also about ensuring that there is a support system to keep those veterans in those homes on a permanent basis."

Niagara Falls is joining the "Mayors Challenge" in helping vets find homes. Mayor Paul Dyster says the Regional Economic Development Council has a program just for veterans, to get them into jobs. Thanks to an improving local economy, Dyster says the programs are able "to hook up returning veterans, if they have the proper job skills, to meaningful employment."


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.