Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Shinseki Declares War On Veteran Homelessness

Secretary Shinseki takes a page from old enemy with a 5 year plan
Secretary Shinseki Details Plan to End Homelessness for Veterans

Five-Year Plan Unveiled at Homeless Summit

WASHINGTON (Nov. 3, 2009) - Today, at the "VA National Summit Ending
Homelessness Among Veterans" Secretary of Veterans Affairs 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.

"President Obama and I are personally committed to ending homelessness
among Veterans within the next five years," said Shinseki. "Those who
have served this nation as Veterans should never find themselves on the
streets, living without care and without hope."

Shinseki's comprehensive plan to end homelessness includes preventive
measures like discharge planning for incarcerated Veterans re-entering
society, supportive services for low-income Veterans and their families
and a national referral center to link Veterans to local service
providers. Additionally, the plan calls for expanded efforts for
education, jobs, health care and housing.

"Our plan enlarges the scope of VA's efforts to combat homelessness,"
said Shinseki. "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."

Other features of the plan outlined by Shinseki include:

* 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 and
the General Services Administration 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 next year to prevent and reduce
homelessness among Veterans. That 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. Last week, 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
Veterans and their families under a partnership with the Department of
Housing and Urban Development. The VA/HUD partnership will provide
permanent housing to more than 20,000 Veterans and their families.

Over the duration of the conference it is expected that over 1,200
homeless service providers from federal and state agencies, the business
community, and faith-based and community providers will attend and
participate in the summit.

"This is not a summit on homelessness among Veterans," added Shinseki
"It's a summit on ending homelessness among Veterans."