More Federal Aid Pledged to Assist Local Homeless Vets
By City News Service
The country’s top veterans affairs official committed earlier this month to ramping up funding to help Los Angeles County’s more than 6,000 homeless veterans, local elected officials announced Aug. 1.
U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki made the commitment at a meeting with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky last week in Washington, D.C.
Shinseki told the officials that Los Angeles County – which has the highest population of veterans who are homeless in the country – would get more housing vouchers and medical outreach workers as well as a dedicated homeless services center at the Veterans Affairs facility in West Los Angeles.
Feinstein said she will hold Shinseki to his commitment, calling the high number of homeless veterans in Los Angeles a “disgrace and a chronic problem that we can do something about.”
Waxman said Shinseki committed to end homelessness by 2015 and “showed a sincere desire to turn the crisis of veteran homelessness in Los Angeles around.”
Calling the secretary’s commitment “huge” and “unprecedented,” Yaroslavsky said it would allow the county to “treat ten times as many homeless vets in the next two years than we did over the last two.”
The money would go toward:
—Growing Project 60, a program that finds permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless veterans dealing with severe mental illness;
—Additional HUD-VASH vouchers for housing and therapeutic services;
—Paying for beds in the state veterans home at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs facility to house homeless veterans until full state funding for veterans waiting for nursing home care becomes available;
—Creating a “one-stop-shop” comprehensive homeless resource center at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs facility;
—Expanding “assertive community treatment” teams that will work to bring homeless veterans into permanent supportive housing and to help them remain housed;
—And renovating housing for homeless veterans.
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August 8, 2013 Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.