Under [Jodie Picciano Swanson]’s leadership, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has sustained functional zero for homeless veterans for over four years. This status doesn’t mean no veteran is homeless, but that the number of homeless veterans is no greater than the monthly housing placement rate.
Contrary to popular belief, Picciano-Swanson says, not all homeless have major mental health or substance abuse issues, and not all homelessness is caused by poor decisions.
“Everyone makes mistakes, but a descent into homelessness is not necessarily the direct result of ‘choices,’” she explains. “All too often, it is the loss of a job, debt, loss of housing/eviction or an illness that takes a financial toll on a family.” The pandemic cost many veterans their jobs, she adds, and GCVHCS is working diligently to find them other opportunities.