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july/august 2009

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I recently attended the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. As usual, Cheryl Beversdorf and her staff put together a very dynamic group of speakers, as well as a wide array of breakout sessions. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Rep. Steve Buyer (D-Ind.), and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki were the keynote speakers during the opening session.

President Barack Obama was awarded the 2009 Jerald Washington Memorial Founders’ Award. Several other annual awards were presented at the Awards Banquet where the keynote speakers were Gordon Burke and Scott Quilty. It was three days of jam-packed information from homeless courts to self-employment opportunities and everything in between.

This is the only annual conference for homeless-veteran service providers. In the opinion of this chair, it is a conference where VVA surely gets the most bang for its buck. Kudos to the entire staff at NCHV. I would like to take this opportunity to wish Cheryl Beversdorf of NCHV good luck in her new endeavors, whatever they may be. Cheryl has decided to leave NCHV. The committee would also like to welcome John Driscoll as the interim president of NCHV. Some of us on the committee have worked with John for years, and we know he will do a wonderful job advocating for homeless veterans.

The committee has submitted its resolutions and looks forward to the Convention where the delegates will set the course for VVA for the next two years. We continue, as a committee, to address the unresolved issue of the Homeless Grant and Per Diem payment methodology, as well as continued funding for and oversight of the HUD-VASH voucher program. The HUD-VASH voucher program is one that this committee has worked long and hard to see implemented. During the NCHV Annual Conference, it was announced that of the original 10,000 vouchers authorized, 7,300 had already been awarded to homeless veterans. Women veterans and veterans with children have received 11 percent of the awarded vouchers. The distribution points for the second round of vouchers have not yet been designated.



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