BRENTWOOD—U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has committed to increase funding in order to help more than 6,000 homeless veterans in Los Angeles County and end homelessness by 2015, according to local officials on August 1.
At a meeting with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Representative Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky, Shinseki said L.A. will get more housing vouchers and medical outreach workers at the Veterans Affairs facility in West L.A. Shinseki said there will also be a center devoted to homeless services.
“Over the last three years, we’ve made the investments, built the infrastructures and implemented the programs that ensure Veterans get the quality care and support that they need to exit homelessness,” said Shinseki at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in May.
Between 2009 and 2014 funding increased nearly 270 percent for veteran homelessness, according to Shinseki.
“This year we have budgeted $1.35 billion for Veterans homelessness, an increase of 33 percent over the 2012 level (and) our 2014 budget request is nearly $1.4 billion,” he said. “This is not about resources. We have successfully presented your compelling arguments for better funding of our homeless Veterans requirements throughout the budget process."
Feinstein said she is going to hold Shinseki to his commitment and called the number of homeless veterans a “disgrace and a chronic problem that we can do something about.”
“(Shinseki) showed a sincere desire to turn the crisis of veteran homelessness in Los Angeles around,” said Waxman.
Shinseki said the level of partnering must be raised over the next two years and that every homeless veteran must be found, engaged and rescued.
“We get no points for good intentions,” he said. “We must earn their trust—their belief that we care, that we are not going to go away, that this is not about today’s numbers. Persistence counts. Persistence counts, and we are going to win this contest.”
The money raised would go toward the following areas:
- Growing Project 60, a program that finds permanent housing for chronically homeless vets dealing with severe mental illness
- Additional HUD-VASH vouchers for housing and therapeutic services
- Paid beds in the state veterans home at the West L.A. Veterans Affairs facility until nursing home care becomes available
- A one-stop-shop homeless resource center at the West L.A. Veterans Affairs facility
- Assertive community treatment teams working to bring homeless vets into permanent housing and help them remain there
- Renovate housing for homeless vets
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