Marty believes veterans deserve our respect and gratitude for putting everything on the line to serve our country. He believes our gratitude must go beyond holidays and beyond words, and extend to providing the housing, education, jobs, healthcare, and services they need to thrive and contribute their considerable talents to our city. As mayor, that’s been his goal. He made it a priority to provide supportive and permanent housing for every homeless veteran. And he has been a passionate supporter of veterans groups, veterans advocates, and all 22,000 veterans in our city.
“Let me introduce you to one more Bostonian who inspired me last year. Donald Wilkins is an Air Force veteran I met in our Homes for the Brave program. It’s placed more than 500 veterans in permanent housing. Donald told me how the stigma of homelessness chipped away at his pride. He said our new system—and his new apartment in West Roxbury—was the key to a new life. Donald is with us tonight. It’s because of his courage, and the courage of countless veterans like him, that I am so proud to announce: we have ended chronic veterans’ homelessness in Boston.”
Mayor Walsh, State of the City Address, January 2016
- Ending veterans’ homelessness. During Mayor Walsh’s tenure, the City provided housing to 800 homeless veterans, effectively ending chronic veteran homelessness. This year, the city has secured an additional $3.8 million from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Housing and Urban Development to help with at-risk veterans’ programs and affordable housing.
- Enabling veteran opportunity and leadership. Mayor Walsh launched the Veteran-Owned Small Business Development Initiative, which requires city departments and building projects to solicit quotes from veteran-owned small businesses in the city.
- Appointed U.S. Marine Corps veteran Giselle Sterling Commissioner of Veterans Services, the first Latina and the first woman to serve in this position.
- Established and participated in Operation Thank-a-Veteran. In this groundbreaking program, each month teams of volunteers visit veterans in their homes to personally thank them for their service and provide information about available services. Since 2015, teams have recruited over 350 volunteers, knocked on over 3,100 doors, and reached over 1,150 veterans. Learn more, here.
- Hiring veterans for vital public safety jobs. Since taking office, 100% of Boston’s new firefighters have been veterans, including many who have overcome injuries and disabilities incurred during their service.
- Supporting vulnerable veterans in the heart of Boston. Mayor Walsh has supported the renovation of the New England Center for Homeless Veterans.
- Standing with veterans groups. Supported Mass. Fallen Heroes in their successful quest to create a memorial to service members who have died since September 11, 2001, along with family support services.
- Supporting an inclusive veteran community. Mayor Walsh worked with the Allied War Veterans Council in South Boston to allow gay veterans to march openly in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the first time.
- Increase budgetary support for veterans services, including the City’s Homebuyer Financial Assistance Program, to provide down payment assistance to veterans buying a home in Boston.
- Develop job opportunity programs for veterans being treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.