By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz is leading the effort to have Minnesota declared the fourth state in the U.S. to put an end to veteran homelessness.

“Our veterans are not victims and we are not asking for charity; we are asking for partners and I want them to know that we are going to be there,” Walz said.

Walz is speaking to landlords and property owners, hoping they will help place vets who are on the veteran homeless registry in their own place.

“We really needed that landlord support in order to get housing for these last 207 veterans that are on our list. We are going to need about 450 units total,” Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs Commissioner Larry Herke said.

Many of the landlords in attendance felt the calling for help, and dedicated space in their properties exclusively to veterans.

Walz pledged to support landlords who make a commitment to house veterans.

Johan Bridger is a veteran and landlord. He knows when you rent to a veteran, they come with a community of support.

“I try to identify, if possible, and be aware of what needs they may have that are more than the housing that I provide, and then I work with their case workers to alleviate those needs,” Bridger said.

Many of the veterans on the registry hold a voucher that covers the cost of housing. So far, all levels of government working together has ended homelessness in half of the state.

“Five of the 10 continuums of care in Minnesota have achieved the federal benchmark, five to go: Hennepin, Ramsey, the suburban area, central Minnesota and St. Louis County,” Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho said.

Reg Chapman