Mayor DuPree and the City of Hattiesburg receive congratulatory phone call from D.C.

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Mayor DuPree and the City of Hattiesburg functionally ended veteran's homelessness last month and the city received a token of appreciation Wednesday from secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julio Castro.

Mayor of Hattiesburg, Johnny DuPree said, "It was wonderful. I actually know him. He's a former mayor from Texas. But it was wonderful that he would call us acknowledging the work that these people behind us performed over the last year. So it was good for them to actually hear the secretary to say congratulations."

Even though it's only been a year and a half since First Lady, Michelle Obama challenged our country's mayors, the Pine Belt Coalition and the City of Hattiesburg have been working to end veteran’s homelessness since 2007.

One thing that helped that process was hiring the first ever homeless coordinator in the state of Mississippi.

Homeless coordinator, Kim Townsend said, "I came in on probably the tail-end of that. Basically I told people I crossed some T's and dotted some I's to get our submission finished and turned in. I give all the credit to the people that were already working on it."

Aids Service Coalition executive director, Kathryn Garner said they were able to asses and survey the physical location of veterans in the community.

"Homelessness should not exist. We are a wealthy society. We have all the resources in the world. But surely veterans specifically should never be homeless. They have served our country and so we owe them to make sure that they are housed and supported in a way when they come home. It's important to this community because it shows the value we place in our veterans and in human beings in general," said Garner.

There was a total of 15 different groups who assisted in the process to end veteran's homelessness.

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