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Plan for Homeless Vets

Reprinted from PN January 2010

VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki unveiled the department’s comprehensive plan to end homelessness among veterans

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On November 3, 2009, at the “VA National Summit Ending Homelessness Among Veterans,” VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki unveiled the department’s comprehensive plan to end homelessness among veterans by marshalling the resources of government, business, and the private sector.

The comprehensive plan to end homelessness within five years includes preventive measures like discharge planning for incarcerated veterans re-entering society, supportive services for low-income vets and their families, and a national referral center to link them to local service providers. The plan also calls for expanded efforts for education, jobs, healthcare, and housing.

“In the past, VA focused largely on getting homeless veterans off the streets. Our five-year plan aims also at preventing them from ever ending up homeless,” Shinseki says.

The plan outlined by Secretary Shinseki also includes the following features:

  • The new Post-9/11 GI Bill provides a powerful option for qualified veterans to pursue a fully funded degree program at a state college or university. It is a major component of the fight against veteran homelessness.
  • VA is collaborating with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) to certify veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses for listing on the Federal Supply Register, which enhances their visibility and competitiveness—creating jobs for veterans.
  • VA will spend $3.2 billion this year to prevent and reduce homelessness among veterans. This includes $2.7 billion on medical services and more than $500 million on specific homeless programs.
  • VA aggressively diagnoses and treats the unseen wounds of war that often lead to homelessness: severe isolation, dysfunctional behaviors, depression, and substance abuse. VA and the Defense Department cosponsored a national summit on mental health that will help both agencies better coordinate mental-health efforts.
  • VA partners with more than 600 community organizations to provide transitional housing to 20,000 veterans. It also works with 240 public-housing authorities to provide permanent housing to homeless vets and their families under a partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The VA/HUD partnership will provide permanent housing to more than 20,000 veterans and their families.

“This was not a summit on homelessness among veterans,” says Shinseki. “It’s a summit on ending homelessness among veterans.”

 

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Plan for Homeless Vets

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