Ending veteran homelessness

Amend the Per Diem Grant to allocate funding to each state annually to care for their homeless     Veterans: Currently each year grant proposals from all over the nation are  submitted for approval. Only a small number of states are awarded  funds. This process fails to meet the needs of more than half the  nation’s homeless Veterans.
Homelessness Coalition of Veterans Organizations March 16, 2007
According to statistics there will be between 200k and 300k homeless veterans on the streets of America. In the state of Ill there are over _____ homeless veterans, with close to 20k in the Chicagoland area. In the state of Ill there are less than 150 beds for the homeless  supported by the per diem grant issued by the VA to help the homeless. The vast majority of homeless veterans suffer from some form of metal  illness accompanied by substance abuse problems. This dual diagnosis  often started in the service but because of the severity of the  problems the veteran cannot make the claim for services from the VA by  him or her self. Programs serving homeless veterans are consistently under funded. For  example, according to the Dept of Veterans’ Affairs only 100k veterans  are served by homeless services and community-based programs, leaving  80% of the homeless veterans population without services. Again with  only 158 beds for 20,000 homeless veterans one can easily see that the  need for additional resources is urgent. (source: Chi. Continuum of  Care) Many veterans completing treatment programs at VISN 12 facilities, no  matter how well intentioned, are doomed to rehospitalization/relapse,  for there is nowhere for them to go in the community except to the  circumstances and conditions that are part of their destabilization. We  need to double the number of per diem beds immediately. One way to do  this is to encourage non-VA service providers to apply for them and  have an open application process so that those service providers with  veterans on their caseloads can continue to receive their services in a  stable, secure and sober environment and not be overwhelmed.
Homelessness/Mental Illness and Substance Abuse
With over 76% of the homeless not being treated for their mental  illness and substance abuse problems and with a cut back in the  services available at the VA, the need to utilize the monies allocated  for mental health services is critical and obvious. The fact that $42  million was returned to the general fund that was earmarked for these  programs is a death sentence for many vets and worse a living  prison/hell for others and their families. Community based services by  non-VA service providers such as Thresholds, Haymarket, and Bobby  Wright Mental Health services could bring immediate relief to  Chicago/Illinois Veterans.
The Disparity
With the not-so-new news that Illinois is next to last in the granting  of service connection for PTSD and other ailments, many veterans are  deprived of those services and resources needed to overcome their  service-incurred ailments. This delay in treatment and means of support  devastate the veteran and their family and is a major factor in  homelessness, incarnation and—in the long term—more costly to treat  once service connection is finally granted. I don t think that there is  another place where doctors findings are routinely negated by  adjudicators without medical training. Claims that are remanded by the  BVA, 3 or more times over a time span of 10, 15 or twenty years are  still waiting resolution. This situation often becomes the biggest  stressor in the veteran’s life. This situation demands that the resources needed to finalize claims  remanded more than 3 times or that have been in adjudication for more  than five years be brought on line immediately. For unless it is the  unspoken goal to see deserving veterans and their families die off or  to continue to live in the darkness and agony known only to those that  suffer from this shortcoming on the part of the VA, corrective measures  must be taken immediately. There are several reports that state that the VA is unprepared to deal  with the demands for services from Americas veterans and that the  projected budget is flawed and based on false assumptions. This—coming  from the inspector general and the Kennedy school of Government at  Harvard University—should tell our elected officials that we have  serious problems now. If nothing is done we are going to have a  disaster in the near future. We must plan for the treatment of veterans using real numbers and  guarantees, whether thru a trust fund or other means. We must roll back  some of these new policies such as 2 years of health care for our new  vets, the means test and categories for veterans. A grateful nation and compassionate knowledgeable elected officials  will settle for nothing less. Nor will we, the veterans of America,  their families and their sincere supporters, settle for less.
David J. Rogers C.V.O.