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September/october 2008

red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : Featured Stories / President's Message / Government Affairs / Member Notes / Veterans Healthcare / Homeless Veterans / Veterans Incarcerated / POW-MIA / PTSD / AVVA / Chapter 172 / Books In Review / Ross Grego Remembered / Anthony Russo / Letters / The Locator / Reunions / Taps / American Medals / Messer at the BVA

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This year the Homeless Veterans Committee decided to make a donation to a nonprofit in South Carolina instead of holding a seminar. We selected the Alston Wilkes Veterans Home because of its long-standing relationship with the South Carolina State Council and local South Carolina VVA chapters. I know the donation will be put to great use. The director of the program has assured me the Home will send pictures of items purchased for the

J. Award were received this year. There must be many success stories of people deserving national recognition for their accomplishments working with the homeless. I urge all Chapters and State Councils to seek out individuals who have made successful transitions from homelessness and nominate them for this award.

The committee is awaiting with great anticipation the start-up of the HUD-VASH program. Creating 10,000 vouchers will move forward the effort to end homelessness among veterans. The regulations have been formulated and some of the new liaisons have been named to oversee the distribution of the vouchers. This issue has been on the top of this committee’s priority list for many years. When HUD went forward with the request for the allocation of funds for this joint venture, it took a giant step in its commitment to providing housing for homeless veterans. We applaud HUD.

Homeless veterans and those who help them received a significant boost when the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs presented 55 new awards to public and private nonprofit organizations that help homeless veterans. The July 14 announcement of awards to community-based organizations in 24 states will add more than a thousand transitional housing beds to the 9,400 beds already available for homeless veterans through VA grants for the homeless. Last year, the VA committed more resources than at any time in its history for programs benefiting homeless veterans.

The department committed $26 million in new funding to support some two thousand new transitional housing beds; $12 million for seriously mentally ill veterans, terminally ill veterans, frail elderly veterans, and women veterans, including women with children; and $2 million for other programs.

The VA has provided more than $350 million in grants and per diem payments since it began the Grant and Per Diem Program in 1994. Since 1988, the VA has worked with hundreds of communities to support more than 1,500 stand-downs across the nation. Stand-downs give homeless veterans a temporary refuge where they can get food, shelter, clothing, and a wide range of community and VA help. For more information on the VA’s homeless programs, see the VA website,



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