17 July 2013

VA Expands Homeless Programs, Agent Orange Listed Ships

VA News and Notes

By Jud Powell
Little River County Veteran's Service Officer
Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 11:56 AM CDT
We learned last week that the Veterans Administration has updated the list of U.S. Navy
and Coast Guard ships that operated in Vietnam, adding more ships and expanding i
nformation for others.

There are now 285 ships on the list. The list can help Vietnam-era Veterans find out if
 they qualify for presumption of Agent Orange exposure when seeking disability
compensation for related diseases.

Last Friday, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the award of nearly
$300 million in grants that will help approximately 120,000 homeless and at-risk
Veterans and their families.  The grants have been awarded to 319 community agencies
in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, VA is awarding
grants to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives that provide
services to very low-income Veteran families living in -- or transitioning to --
permanent housing. The SSVF program supports VA’s efforts to prevent at-risk
Veterans from becoming homeless and rapidly re-house those who have
recently fallen into homelessness.

Thanks to the SSVF grants, those community organizations will provide a range of services that 
promote housing stability and play a key role in connecting Veterans and their family members 
to VA services such as mental health care and other benefits. Community-based groups can 
offer temporary financial assistance on behalf of Veterans for rent payments, utility payments, 
security deposits and moving costs.

This is the third year SSVF grants have helped Veterans and their families find or remain in their 
homes. Last year, VA provided about $100 million to assist approximately 50,000 Veterans and 
family members.

In 2009, President Obama and Secretary Shinseki announced the federal government’s goal to end
 Veterans’ homelessness in 2015. The grants are intended to help accomplish that goal.  According to 
the 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, homelessness among Veterans has declined 17.2 
percent since 2009.

Through the homeless Veterans initiative, VA committed over $1 billion in fiscal year 2013 to strengthen
programs that prevent and end homelessness among Veterans. VA provides a range of services to 
homeless Veterans, including health care, job training, and education.

More information about VA’s homeless programs is available at www.va.gov/homeless.  Details about 
the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program are online at www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp.

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