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Updated Nov 11, 2013 - 6:28 pm

Stanton, McCain announce a 62 percent drop in Phoenix homeless vets

In a joint press release on Friday, Mayor Greg Stanton and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have announced that chronic homelessness among war veterans in Phoenix has decreased by 62 percent.

"I'm proud that Phoenix is taking the lead and it will be the first city in America to eradicate the homeless veterans issue," Sen. John McCain said Monday at an event.

Earlier last week, a local official estimated that 1 in 5 homeless people in Phoenix are veterans.

"It's not right to have anybody who served this nation living on the streets," said Mike McQuaid with the Human Services Campus.

McQuaid went on to remark that "we will end chronic homelessness in Phoenix within the next 12 months."

Plan H3: VETS hopes to make that happen, as the community collaboration is largely responsible for the 62 percent decline.

Over the last two years, Project H3 VETS has successfully housed 161 veterans. A recent street survey identified 56 vets that remain unsheltered.

The project's current goal is to give these men and women a place to stay by the end of the year. They will be placed in permanent dwellings by Statehood Day 2014 and will work with an employment service and receive mental health support, if needed.

The project was coordinated by the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness (AZCEH) in November 2011 with the focus of curtailing the homelessness epidemic among local war veterans.

Stanton has repeatedly pledged that Phoenix will be among the first cities in the country to end homelessness among veterans, and Phoenix is in a friendly competition with Salt Lake City to be the first city in the U.S. to accomplish the feat.

KTAR's Sandra Haros contributed to this report.

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