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


Doing Our Part


During the National Convention in St. Louis it was announced that I had been appointed to the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans (ACHV). I am honored to sit as a representative of Vietnam Veterans of America on this committee. I thank VVA President Tom Corey for his recommendation. I will do my best to represent VVA and homeless women veterans as their voice on the committee.

In October I attended my first Advisory Committee meeting. Presentations were made by several federal agencies and projected plans were addressed. The 2003 Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans Report has been submitted, responses have been received, and it is now public record. ACHV is compiling recommendations for the 2004 report. In keeping with President Bush's initiative to end chronic homelessness in ten years, ACHV has established a subcommittee to develop a ten-year plan.

There have been some very significant events relating to homeless veterans since the Convention. The Department of Veterans Affairs Homeless Grant and Per Diem Program, with the awarding of its latest grants, now has 8,200 transitional beds operated by more than 250 community programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This is an increase from three years ago when funding was provided for 1,250 beds in just 24 states. The VA expects to provide grants supporting 10,000 transitional beds by 2006.

The Interagency Council on the Homeless (ICH) consists of 20 federal agencies involved in helping the homeless. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson is the chair. In April 2004, VA Secretary Anthony Principi will become chair. In the spring of 2003 a combined grant from HHS, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the VA awarded $35 million to 11 communities that have put together partnerships of providers offering housing, health care, mental health, substance abuse, and veteran services to the homeless. The VA awarded $4.6 million in grants as part of the council's initiative.

VVA's task force will continue to advocate for legislation identifying veterans as a special needs population within the homeless population. We will push forward on our resolution to gain fair-share funding for homeless veteran programs. Our first order of business will be to establish a legislative agenda for 2004.

We extend a special salute to those chapter and state councils doing their part in rendering assistance to our less fortunate brothers and sisters.


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