Document No Longer Maintained/Updated: Content remains hosted for archive purposes but may not be up-to-date.Dateline: Nov. 4, 2009
Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Eric K. Shinseki has outlined what he calls the VA's "comprehensive" plan to end homelessness among veterans. In March 2008, the VA estimated the number of homeless veterans at about 154,000.
"Those who have served this nation as veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope," said Sec. Shinseki, noting that the plan would expand the scope of VA's efforts to fight homelessness. "In the past, VA focused largely on getting homeless veterans off the streets," he said. "Our five-year plan aims also at preventing them from ever ending up homeless."
Shinseki's plan would help incarcerated veterans re-enter society, provide local support for low-income veterans and their families, and expand programs providing education, jobs, health care and housing for veterans.
Other features of VA's five-year plan to end homelessness among veterans include:
- The new Post-9/11 GI Bill provides a powerful option for qualified veterans to pursue a fully funded degree program at a state college or university. It is a major component of the fight against veteran homelessness. The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after Sept. 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days.
- VA is collaborating with the Small Business Administration and the General Services Administration to certify veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses for listing on the Federal Supply Register, which enhances their visibility and competitiveness - creating jobs for veterans.
- VA will spend $3.2 billion next year to prevent and reduce homelessness among veterans. That includes $2.7 billion on medical services and more than $500 million on specific homeless programs.
- VA aggressively diagnoses and treats the unseen wounds of war that often lead to homelessness - severe isolation, dysfunctional behaviors, depression and substance abuse.
- VA partners with more than 600 community organizations to provide transitional housing to 20,000 veterans. It also works with 240 public housing authorities to provide permanent housing to homeless veterans and their families under a partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The VA/HUD partnership will provide permanent housing to more than 20,000 veterans and their families.