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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County has a lot to celebrate right now.

It’s making strides in helping the homeless, becoming the first major urban area in Florida to effectively end homelessness among veterans in the community.

“I’m proud to officially announce that Miami-Dade County has effectively ended homelessness amongst veterans in our community,” said Ronald Book, chair of Miami-Dade Homeless Trust.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimemez, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and others speak about the work to end veteran homelessness. (Source: CBS4)

Thursday amid dignitaries from across the federal and local level, there was a celebration of numbers.

Unsheltered veterans represent less than one percent of the total homeless population in the county.

The county received praise on a national level.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson touted a nonpartisan mission accomplished.

“This is such a wonderful example of what can happen when people are willing to work together to focus on what the issue is, the issue was homeless veterans,” Carson said.

Praise also went back to the Trump administration.

“This is not something that was done overnight, it was done by the previous administration, they started the effort,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. “Congress then pitched and as the chairman of the committee that funds it, I was able to get the support of my colleagues. Then frankly it took the leadership of the Trump administration.”

It was Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued a challenge to end veteran homelessness in 2014. County officials say that was instrumental in leveraging additional permanent housing resources for homeless veterans.

“Being a mom and not having a place for your kids to lay their head at night, that is rough,” said Ashley, a former homeless veteran.

After returning home following service in Afghanistan, Ashley began living on the street.

Now, with her family, her baby and a new home, she is touted as the face of success in Miami-Dade.

 

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