July 19, 2011
Army Veteran Vivian Unce, Navy Veteran Victoria Lewis, and Navy Veteran Veronica Vernon (left to right) developed a strong friendship during their participation in a VA program targeting homeless, female Veterans in southeast Texas. “This new grant provides another opportunity for the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center to bring Veterans in need of assistance together with the wide range of programs and services VA provides,” said Laura Marsh, M.D., Mental Health Care Line executive.
PHOTO: Bobbi Gruner, PAO
The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced the award of $666,765 to the Harris County Housing Authority to increase permanent housing and case management for area Veterans.
“This initiative will strengthen our ongoing efforts to eliminate Veteran homelessness and improve quality of life for Veterans,” said Adam C. Walmus, M.H.A., M.A., F.A.C.H.E., director of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. “Working with our partners at HUD, we continue to make good progress to reduce Veteran homelessness, though much work remains. VA is committed to providing Veterans and their families with access to affordable housing and medical services that will help them get back on their feet.”
The funding, from Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program (HUD-VASH), is a coordinated effort by HUD, VA, and local housing agencies to provide permanent housing for homeless Veterans.
Homeless Veterans are referred to the Harris County Housing Authority for “Housing Choice” Section 8 vouchers to assist with rent payment. With this latest grant, the Harris County Housing Authority will receive 125 additional housing vouchers.
Eligible homeless Veterans receive VA-provided case management, and services to support stability and recovery from physical and mental health, substance use, and functional concerns contributing to or resulting from homelessness.
Veterans participating in the HUD-VASH program rent privately owned housing and generally contribute no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent. VA offers eligible homeless Veterans clinical and supportive services through the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.
About one-third of the adult homeless population has served their country in the Armed Services. Current population estimates suggest that about 107,000 Veterans (male and female) are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year. Many other Veterans are considered near homeless or at risk because of their poverty, lack of support from family and friends, and dismal living conditions in cheap hotels or in overcrowded or substandard housing.
If you know a Veteran who needs assistance, please call 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838) or the Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program at 713-794-7848. More information about VA’s homeless programs is available online at http://www.va.gov/homeless.
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Awarded re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2008, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for more than 120,000 veterans in southeast Texas. Veterans from around the country are referred to the MEDVAMC for specialized diagnostic care, radiation therapy, surgery, and medical treatment including cardiovascular surgery, gastrointestinal endoscopy, nuclear medicine, ophthalmology, and treatment of spinal cord injury and diseases. The MEDVAMC is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; Network Polytrauma Center; an award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; Liver Transplant Center; VA Epilepsy and Cancer Centers of Excellence; VA Substance Abuse Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative; Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence; VA Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; and one of the VA’s six Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Houston, Lufkin, and Richmond, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics logged more than one million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2010. For the latest news releases and information about the MEDVAMC, visit www.houston.va.gov.