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

September/October 2002

New Beginnings


Just prior to my appointment as Chair in June, Marsha Four, Paul Sutton, and I attended the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans Annual Conference, the only national gathering of providers and agencies working exclusively with homeless veterans. The theme of the meeting was "Shaping America's Agenda for Homeless Veterans.''  

Fran Murphy, Deputy Undersecretary for Health, gave a presentation. Discussions were held on the VA Homeless Grant & Per Diem Program. Frederico Juarbe, Assistant Secretary, VETS, made a presentation on behalf of the Department of Labor. The possible turnover to the VA of the VETS program, including the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Programs, was briefly discussed. Philip Manago, Executive Director of the Interagency Council on the Homeless, has been charged with creating a strategy to end homelessness in ten years. 

During the conference, we met with U.S. Reps. Bob Borski and Bob Brady, aides from the offices of U.S. Reps. Curt Weldon and Tim Holden, and Minority Chief Counsel and Staff Director for the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Bill Turek.   

My first official duty as Chair of the Homeless Veterans Task Force was to attend the 15th Annual San Diego Stand-down and National Stand-down Conference in July.  

Having the opportunity to attend the San Diego Stand-down was a kind of pilgrimage to the roots of Stand-down. I talked with the two veteran founders, Robert Van Keuren and Jon Nachison.  Being on the field every day and observing the operation was most valuable.   

Presentations were given on the beginnings of Stand-down. The concept of Stand-downs as multi-day events was stressed. A sense of community can only be attained during multi-day events. Several workshops were held during the conference.  I attended the Resources and Reporting session.      

During the recent Leadership Conference in Tucson, the Task Force had Pete Dougherty discuss the specifics of P.L. 107-95.  When the regulations have been formalized, information will be provided.


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