From the inbox earlier this week:
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki has announced that 19 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will share more than $17 million in grants to community groups to create 1,155 beds for homeless Veterans this year.
“These grants will aid our efforts to eliminate homelessness among those who have served in uniform,” said Secretary Shinseki. “Our partnerships with community-based organizations provide safe, transitional housing while these Veterans leverage VA’s health care and other benefits to return to productive lives.”
A key tool in VA’s drive to eliminate homelessness among Veterans, the grants helped VA reduce the number of Veterans who are homeless on a typical night last year by 15 percent to about 131,000 Veterans.
In other programs, VA provides health care to 100,000 homeless Veterans, compensation and assistance in obtaining foreclosed homes and excess federal property, including clothes, footwear, blankets and other items.
That includes the Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program operating from 132 sites to provide outreach, physical and psychiatric examinations and referrals for more than 40,000 Veterans annually, while 2,100 beds in VA domiciliaries provide treatment to more than 5,000 Veterans each year.
In addition, VA partners with volunteers and community organizations to serve tens of thousands of Veterans each year through "stand downs" offering Veterans who often are living lives in the shadows access to basic services and referrals.
VA works with a variety of federal agencies and Veterans organizations not only to mitigate and eliminate homelessness but toward a goal of preventing its occurrence in the first place.
VA’s goal is to have a “no wrong door" phenomena, meaning Veterans who seek assistance should find it either in VA internal programs, from community partners or through contract services.
In terms of dollars and number of Veterans served, VA has the largest integrated network of homeless assistance programs in the nation. In fiscal year 2009, VA expected to spend $2.8 billion to provide health care and specialized homeless programs, with an anticipated $400 million increase in the budget for fiscal year 2010.
VA social workers and clinicians work with community and faith-based partners to conduct extensive outreach programs, clinical assessments, medical treatments, alcohol and drug abuse counseling and employment assistance.
More information about VA’s homeless programs is available on the Internet at http://www.va.gov/homeless.
Philadelphia / Diversified Housing Solutions, Inc. / $436,020 / 30 beds
Pittsburgh / Community Human Services Corporation / $8,642 / 10 beds