The Homeless Veterans Task Force
looks forward to a new year of positive advances for our sisters
and brothers who find themselves homeless throughout the
country. It is with great anticipation that the Task Force
awaits the VA Federal Regulations, congressional funding, and
full implementation of PL 107‑95, The Homeless Veterans
Comprehensive Assistance Act of 2001.
PL 107‑95 created a VA Homeless
Veterans Advisory Committee. This committee has been formed and
is very active. Fifteen committee members bring a wide range of
experience in the homeless veteran arena. Marsha Four, co-vice
chair of the VVA Homeless Veterans Task Force, has been named a
consultant to the committee. At a recent meeting of this
committee, work continued on the formulation of recommendations
for Secretary Principi concerning homeless veterans issues and
homeless veterans programs. All this is being done in
conjunction with the President's plan to end "chronic"
homelessness in ten years.
Members of the
task force have been reviewing the current VVA National
Resolutions on Homeless Veterans in order to address them at the
St. Louis National Convention. With the passage of PL 107‑95,
several of the current Resolutions have been addressed and
should be retired. Additionally, the task force is working in
conjunction with the Government Affairs Committee in setting the
VVA Legislative Agenda for homeless veterans issues, including
health care and housing.
At a November
2002 meeting, the task force decided to review the VVA Stand
Down Guide for revisions. The task force may reprint and
redistribute the guidebook. We also are reviewing and revising
the Task Force Strategic Plan to incorporate components of PL
the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that 53 grants were
awarded to public and non-profit groups through their Homeless
Grant & Per Diem program and will provide $13 million to develop
housing and service centers for homeless veterans. These 53
grants are distributed among 22 states and the District of
Columbia. They will provide 1,378 more transitional beds than
the existing 3,600 beds nationwide.
On December 19,
the task force chair and co-vice chair participated in the
Homeless Persons Memorial Day services in Philadelphia. We asked
for "Fair Winds and Following Seas" for the veterans who were
remembered upon their passing during the Philadelphia Homeless
Persons Memorial Day service. Each year since 1990, around the
first day of winter, the National Coalition for the Homeless
(NCH) has sponsored a National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day to
bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness and to remember
our homeless friends who have died.