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September/October Issue

red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : Featured Stories / Letters / President's Message / VVAF Report / Government Relations / Ask The Parliamentarian / Veterans Benefits Update / Membership Affairs Committee Report / Legislators View / ETABO Committee Report / PTSD Substance Abuse Comittee Report / TAPS / Region 7 Report / AVVA Report / SHAD/Project 112 Task Force Report / Veterans Against Drugs Task Force Report / VetsConnect Report / Homeless Veterans Task Force Report / Women Veterans Committee Report / Arts of War / Book Review / Membership Notes / Chapter of The Year / Locator / Reunions

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HOMELESS Veterans TASK FORCE Report

SANDY MILLER, CHAIR

In June I attended the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans conference in Washington, the only annual conference that addresses homelessness among veterans. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) announced that the Homes For Heroes Act of 2006 was being introduced in the Senate. I urge all members to ask their Senators and Representatives for their support of S.3475 and HR 5561. This bill will provide housing assistance for low-income veterans and is extremely important in addressing homelessness among veterans. An important section of the bill deals with HUD complying with the provisions of Public Law 107-95, the Homeless Veterans Assistance Act of 2001.

One of the most important sections highlights the extreme need for support-services-only programs and HUD’s recent disincentives placed on cities in renewing McKinney-Vento supportive services programs. VVA has gone on the record saying that veterans’ benefits compensation payments must be excluded in any calculation used in the determination of rent to be paid for housing assistance under federally assisted housing programs.

On August 2, the task force provided written testimony for the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee regarding the Homes For Heroes Act. The complete testimony can also be obtained by contacting the national office or by visiting the VVA website, www.vva.org. The task force has sent out letters of support; we urge you to do the same.

During the Leadership Conference, the Homeless Veterans Task Force presented a workshop on gaining access to resources and advocacy for homeless veterans. The seminar was very well received. I feel we offered information that will help chapters and state councils provide support and services.

Included in the presentations were contacts for grants and suggested approaches to local retail stores. The seminar survey reflected the overall success of the seminar. Thanks to all those who attended. Anyone who would like a copy of the presentation may contact me at smiller@vva.org.

I would like to thank the Arizona State Council for arranging the bus trip to Esperanza en Escalante, the veterans transitional housing facility. A good time was had by all. Having visited there before, I know that those who attended were very impressed by the pride exhibited by the veterans living there.

As a member of the VA Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans, I have been given the task of addressing women veterans’ issues and making recommendations to the Advisory Committee on homeless women veterans. I will work very closely with the VVA Women Veterans Committee to help move its agenda forward through the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans.

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