Mayor Walsh Seeks More Housing for Veterans

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Air Force veteran Paul Younie held the paw of his service dog, Nikita, while listening Wednesday to Mayor Martin Walsh.
Air Force veteran Paul Younie held the paw of his service dog, Nikita, while listening Wednesday to Mayor Martin Walsh.

By Oliver Ortega | Globe correspondent

 

Jamie Maddocks knew he had to get back on his feet.

The US Navy veteran was homeless and alone after a difficult divorce. He faced medical bills for leg injuries sustained decades back during training exercises and more bills from treatment for prostate cancer that required two surgeries. A 2012 car accident sent him to the hospital, an accident, a doctor told him, that most people would not have survived.

Hoping to get help, Maddocks traveled from North Carolina to the New England Center for Homeless Veterans in Boston, the city he lived in after his discharge in the late 1970s.

A new initiative by the city aims to help retired members of the military like Maddocks, who is 59, to obtain resources they need to lead stable lives.

At a press conference Wednesday in the downtown veterans center, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the launch of a website that real estate owners can use to post rental listings and that employers can use to place job ads. The effort is part of an initiative to end homelessness among an estimated 400 veterans in Boston.

“It’s our obligation to do it,” Walsh said. “We have veterans that are homeless. We have a problem with homelessness in the city of Boston and this country. We’re really not addressing it the way we need to.”

For now, the city will not offer subsidies to get landlords to participate, Walsh said, though money may be forthcoming from the federal or state governments, and the city might eventually set aside some money for the initiative. The federal government already subsidizes housing for veterans through a voucher program.

 

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