VA Summit Frames Plan to End Veteran Homelessness

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs held a historic three-day conference in the nation’s capital to signal the beginning of a new mission for the agency – to end veteran homelessness in five years.

More than 1,300 VA clinicians and health care specialists, representatives of federal agencies invested in providing support for homeless and low-income veterans, and community- and faith-based service providers represented by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) assembled to provide input on strategies that will shape the VA’s five-year plan.

“My name is Shinseki, and I am here to end veteran homelessness,” said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in his opening address. “Many of you have been working the issue of Veteran homelessness for a long time … I’m the newcomer here today, so let me reiterate that this is not a summit on homeless veterans–it’s a summit to end homelessness among Veterans. That’s our purpose.

“President Obama and I are personally committed to ending homelessness among Veterans within the next five years. I learned long ago that there are never any absolutes in life, and a goal of zero homeless Veterans sure sounds like an absolute. But unless we set ambitious targets for ourselves, we would not be giving this our very best efforts. No one who has served this nation as veterans have should ever be living on the streets.”

Dr. Gerald Cross, VA Acting Under Secretary for Health, Peter Dougherty, Director of the VA Office of Homeless Programs, Paul Smits, Associate Chief Consultant of Homeless and Rehabilitation and Treatment Services, and Vincent Kane, National Coordinator of the HUD-VASH Program and Director of the National Call and Referral Center, discussed several significant focuses of the Secretary’s five-year plan. For more on the VA Summit, go to: www.nchv.org/news_article.cfm?id=632.

VA will spend $3.2 billion next year to prevent and reduce homelessness among Veterans. That includes $2.7 billion for medical services and more than $500 million for specific homeless programs.

SOURCE National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

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