The message below is from the VT Veterans Committee:
The national goal of ending Veteran’s homelessness has created a needed sense of urgency in states and cities across the country. Vermont has made good progress, especially in reducing the number of homeless Veterans who remain unsheltered. We continue to be impressed by the passionate professionalism of local continuum of care providers and VA staff, many of whom have been deeply committed to this goal since before it became a national priority. Vermont is fortunate to have received targeted federal resources in recent years, such as VASH vouchers which fund permanent affordable housing with supportive services for Veterans who have experienced chronic homelessness.
As we evaluate our progress and the work still ahead, it seems what’s needed – in addition to sustaining this sense of urgency, this commitment and these resources – is an even higher degree of collaboration and communication between all providers and programs that encounter homeless Veterans. To this end, Vermont’s two continuums of care have established a joint Veterans Committee to pay particular attention to the needs of homeless Veterans here in Vermont. One of the primary goals of the committee is to end Veteran’s homelessness in Vermont within the next year. This is an ambitious goal, but one that we can achieve working together. To document progress and streamline access to resources, the committee is working with national consultants to identify and engage every homeless Veteran within the state and develop a simple “by-name” summary list. This will overcome some of the technical hurdles around information sharing and more rapidly connect veterans with housing and other benefits to which they are entitled. We are asking that you join with us in this effort.
The committee has a weekly phone conference to move this process along. By joining in this effort and becoming an active member of this committee, you will play an important role in ending Veteran’s homelessness in our state within the next year. Members of this committee, as well as members of the larger homeless provider community, will be reaching out to you in the next several weeks to ask for your participation and support in reaching our goal. Please join us in this effort. It is only fitting that we honor the service and sacrifice of our Veterans by doing what is needed to bring them home – not only from foreign lands, but also from the streets of our cities and towns.
VT Veterans Committee weekly calls (Thursday from 1-2) 800-767-1750 Access Code 67655#
Angus Chaney Governor’s Council on Homelessness The State of Vermont
James S. Bastien Homeless Services Coordinator White River Junction VA Medical Center
For more information contact James.Bastien@va.gov.