The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

January/February 2003
HOMELESS VETERANS TASK FORCE
   
 

New Plans, Renewed Hope

BY SANDY MILLER, CHAIR

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 107‑95.    

In December, 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. 

   

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