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March/april 2010

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ANNUAL REPORT

Homeless Veterans

BY SANDY MILLER, CHAIR

The Homeless Veterans Committee is hopeful that VA Secretary Shinseki’s Five-Year Plan to End Veteran Homelessness provides the dollars necessary to establish new initiatives and incentives to aggressively attack the national embarrassment of veteran homelessness.

HTF-1-07 Homeless Veterans as a “Special Needs Population”: Vietnam Veterans of America urges the Presidential Interagency Council on Homelessness to recognize homeless veterans as a Special Needs Population. Further, we urge Congress to require all entities and agencies that use federal program funding dollars to report statistics on the number of veterans they serve, their residential status, and the services needed. VVA strongly urges its members to work with their state and federal legislators to enhance services to homeless veterans and encourage them to recognize these veterans as a Special Needs Population. Additionally, VVA supports legislation that would incorporate a “fair share” dollar approach and distribution for the federal funding of all homeless programs and services to specifically target homeless veterans.

The Homeless Veterans Committee, in concert with the VVA Government Affairs Department, continues to work on this Resolution. The VA budget includes increased funding for homeless veterans and homeless veteran programs in keeping with the Secretary’s plan to end veteran homelessness in five years.

HTF-6-07 VA Homeless Grant and Per Diem Funding: Vietnam Veterans of America urges the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Homeless Grant and Per Diem Program to provide “payment for services” rather than the “reimbursement for services” it presently provides. Additionally, VVA supports and seeks legislation to establish Supportive Services Assistance Grants for VA Homeless Grant and Per Diem Service Center Grant Awardees.

Homeless Grant and Per Diem Funding methodology continues to be a top priority for the committee. This may require legislative initiatives, which the committee is prepared to pursue. Progress on this issue has been slow, but the committee remains hopeful that this will happen.

HVC-7-09 Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program To Remain at the U.S. Department of Labor and Be Fully Funded at $50M: Vietnam Veterans of America opposes the transition of the HVRP Program from the U.S. Department of Labor and believes that DOL should be held accountable for this program’s function, oversight, and performance. Additionally, VVA urges full funding to the authorized level for the HVRP program.

With the proposed addition of a fourth arm of the VA, the committee looks forward to working on ensuring HVRP dollars are not lost, regardless of where the authority for the program is seated.

HVC-8-09 Support for Continued Funding and Oversight of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services (HUD/VASH) Program: Vietnam Veterans of America strongly supports and urges the continued funding and expansion of the HUD/VASH voucher program. Further, VVA urges HUD and VA to establish a mechanism whereby oversight of the HUD/VASH voucher program will be insured so that outcomes and effectiveness of the program can be monitored.

We continue to work toward full accountability for all the dollars allocated to this program as well as placement numbers with positive outcomes. The committee has worked for many years to have the HUD/VASH voucher program funded and utilized to the greatest possible level. We look forward to the additional 10-20,000 vouchers projected for this fiscal year.

HVC-9-09 HUD Shelter Plus Care Housing Programs To Receive Supportive Service Dollars: Vietnam Veterans of America urges the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to restructure the Shelter Plus Care grant and funding process to mirror that of the Supported Housing Program process, whereby funding for supportive services is provided through the availability of operational and staffing dollars.

Change is on the way. HUD is beginning to roll both Shelter Plus Care and Supported Housing Programs together. This would create new opportunities for additional services provided to homeless veterans by non-profit groups.

The Homeless Veterans Committee: Sandy Miller, Chair; Marsha Four, Vice Chair. Members: Ric Davidge, Jerry Yamamoto, Pat Bessigano, TP Hubert, Tom Berger, and Frances Rowan. AVVA: Suzanne Blohm-Weber and Nancy Switzer. Special Advisor: John Driscoll. Staff Liaison: Sharon Hodge.

 

 

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