|For Immediate Release||
Contact: Karen Collins
|October 24, 2011||
VA Secretary makes ending homelessness local priority
NEW ORLEANS — As part of its national drive to end homelessness among Veterans by 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs is taking the message about its special programs to help homeless Veterans and their families to 28 communities this month, including New Orleans.
“Those who have served this nation as Veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.
On Oct. 22, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System will host a Stand Down to provide care and highlight local services for homeless Veterans, their families and those at risk of becoming homeless. This event will be at the VA Urgent Care Center, 1601 Perdido St., from 9 a.m. to noon for homeless Veterans only and from noon to 2 p.m. for any other local homeless individuals.
Through the generosity of many local organizations and individuals, homeless Veterans will be fed and have the opportunity to receive other items and services, such as clothing, hygiene kits, benefits counseling, basic health care screening, flu shots, limited mental health counseling, housing referrals and legal assistance.
“Working with our partners in state and local government, the nonprofit and the private sectors, we can restore our homeless Veterans to the lives of dignity they’ve earned,” Shinseki added.
On hand to support to the local kickoff event will be Vince Kane, director of the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, the Housing and Urban Development - VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program and the Low Income at Risk Initiative, which includes Prevention, the Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration (VHPD) Program and the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program.
“Community events like this Stand Down will bring much-needed attention to the national problem of homelessness among Veterans, while highlighting the full range of resources President Obama has committed to address,” said Kane.
This fiscal year, VA expects to spend $3.4 billion to provide health care to homeless Veterans and $800 million on specialized homeless programs. The latest studies say more than 75,000 Veterans are homeless on a typical night, and about 135,000 spend at least one night a year in a homeless shelter.
Since March 2010, VA has offered a toll-free telephone number, staffed around the clock by trained professionals, to help homeless Veterans, their families and at-risk people. The number is 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).
Recently, VA has transformed its efforts in the fight against homelessness. It is changing from a program focused on temporary, shelter-based services to prevention, employment, permanent housing and help to families and Veterans at risk of becoming homeless.
More information about VA’s programs for homeless Veterans, at-risk Veterans and their families is available at www.va.gov/homeless.
For more information about the local VA homeless program, clinic locations and other services available to Veterans in southeast Louisiana, visit the website www.neworleans.va.gov, go to Facebook at www.facebook.com/VANewOrleans or follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/vaneworleans.
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