WASHINGTON, June 4 (UPI) -- The 58,000 homeless veterans in the United States represent a "moral outrage," Michelle Obama said Wednesday as she announced a partnership to find housing.
Obama said the number of vets living on the streets has fallen by almost 25 percent in three years and is only a tiny portion of the total number of veterans.
"But even one homeless veteran is a shame, and the fact that we have 58,000 is a moral outrage. We should all be horrified," Obama said.
The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness harnesses the power of the federal departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs with that of state and local governments, Obama said. She said mayors from 77 cities in 35 states have already signed on along with the governors of Colorado, Connecticut and Puerto Rico.
"These leaders are best-equipped to tackle this challenge because they know their communities inside and out," Obama said. "They aren't just going to address veteran homelessness, they are going to end it. And they're going to do it by 2015."
Obama said the challenge is not just for public officials. She said the public should "light up the phone lines" of governors and mayors who have not yet accepted the challenge.
"We are issuing a call to action to Americans all across the country to do their part to take this issue on," Obama said. "We're asking all of you out there to volunteer your time to help these veterans navigate the system to find the resources they've earned."