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

January/February 2006
HOMELESS Veterans TASK FORCE Report
 
 

Continuing The Push
 

SANDY MILLER, CHAIR

As we enter a new year, we again hope for an end to the national homelessness epidemic. Homelessness among our nationís veterans must be addressed aggressively. We must continue to push for legislation that moves toward an end to homelessness.

The VVA Homeless Veterans Task Force continues to monitor and advocate for change. Most recently, letters were sent to the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) concerning the failure on its part to request the funding necessary to provide the allocation of the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers.

The Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Assistance Act of 2001 authorized HUD to allocate 500 HUD-VASH vouchers in FY03; 1,000 in FY04; 1,500 in FY05; and 2,000 in FY06. To date, none have been issued. HUD-VASH vouchers are a very effective and efficient way to provide case management and supportive services to homeless veterans.

Another letter to HUD addressed the issue of Supportive Housing Program Supportive Services Only projects within the Continuums of Care. HUD has placed a strong emphasis on funding permanent housing, turning away from allocating supportive- services dollars to agencies providing services to homeless veterans not in permanent housing. In the future, we plan to meet with HUD to discuss our concerns.

U.S. VETS recently sent a letter recognizing Chapters 685 and 343 for their support of the U.S. VETS program, Houston after Hurricane Katrina. Members of both chapters visited veterans and provided them a barbeque lunch, clothing, and toiletry items. Kudos to Jim and Marilyn Rose, Doug and Chris Davis, Robert and Rosemary Rodriquez, Buddy Farina, Bill and Suzie Meeks, Betty Hamilton, and to the entire Florida State Council for its unending efforts assisting victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The HVTF will continue to work with the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans (NCHV). The HVTF strongly supports the Veteransí Housing Equity Act of 2005, which was proposed by NCHV. This legislation would expand the supply of permanent housing for low-income veterans and their families, including supportive services. It also would push for veterans to be included as a special-needs population in the development of public housing plans and calls for veterans benefit compensation payments to be excluded in any calculation used in determining the amount of rent to be paid for housing assistance under any federally assisted housing program. Additionally, it requires HUD to submit an annual report to Congress on housing assistance to veterans and would hold HUD accountable for its actions.

We have a fight ahead of us. We will do whatever we can to insure that the needs of our homeless brothers and sisters are met and that we all can look forward to the day when homelessness among our nationís veterans is a thing of the past.

   

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