ST. PAUL — Five Twin Cities metro area counties were granted a federal designation for ending veteran homelessness, Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday, Nov. 11.

The Suburban Metro Area Continuum of Care received the sign-off from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which signals it had effectively ended homelessness.

Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott and Washington counties are included in the region.

The organization is the sixth regional continuum of care in the state to reach the designation. In 2017 and 2018, the West Central, Southwest, Northwest and Northeast Continuums of Care officially declared the end of veteran homelessness there. And the River Valleys Continuum of Care in southeastern Minnesota reached that goal in 2019.

“Becoming the fourth state in the country to end veteran homelessness has been a priority of our administration since day one. Today’s announcement, on a day we honor all veterans, is a major accomplishment toward that goal,” Walz said in a news release. “Minnesota veterans have served and sacrificed to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. Once they complete their service, we should ensure they have a safe place to call home.”

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Four other regional groups in Minnesota continue to work toward the same milestone.

Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho attributed the latest accomplishment in ending veteran homelessness to landlords in the suburban counties who'd been willing to free up space.

“Landlords have stepped up in the suburban metro counties and are an inspiration to others that helping a veteran find a new home can be both rewarding and successful," Ho said.

Since the state launched its initiative to secure housing for veterans in 2014, more than 2,100 have been housed, including more than 500 in 2019.

Veterans experiencing homelessness can get connected to housing services by visiting minnesotaveteran.org or calling 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838).