Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki has made one of the main goals of his terms to ensure that no veteran ever ends up homeless. His time line for ending veterans’ homelessness is the next 5 years. Ending homelessness among veterans is more than just providing beds; it is addressing the reasons why the veterans are homeless in the first place.
The VA was granted an amplified budget for 2011. As a result, Secretary Shinseki plans on escalating the homeless veteran program to have more of a preventative drive focusing on such issues as:
- Jobs; and
- Health care
Secretary Shinseki sees the VA as being primarily a reactive organization when it comes to helping homeless veterans. Instead of waiting for the veterans to become homeless, the VA needs to focus more on preventing the homelessness in the first place. Secretary Shinseki, therefore, is placing 85% of the budget allocated for the homeless veterans program towards:
- Medical services for substance abuse;
- Treatment for Depression;
- Treatment for Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
- Treatment for Traumatic Brain injury (TBI); and
- Other issues linked to homelessness.
Aside from the new Post-9/11 GI Bill providing more education opportunities than ever before, the VA is working both with its existing programs and outside agencies to ensure veterans have better job opportunities. The old adage that “veterans help veterans” is still very true to this day. It is just a matter of veterans and veteran-employers getting together.
Over the last year, Secretary Shinseki’s initiative has resulted in a drop of approximately 18% in the homeless veteran population. According to Secretary Shinseki, anything short of ending the amount of homeless veterans is a complete failure.
Additional housing benefits are available to disabled veterans which may be based on your disability rating. If you are a disabled veteran who is fighting the VA to receive disability compensation, contact the veterans’ disability rights law firm of Veterans Help Group.