VA, HUD Secretaries to Open NCHV Conference
WASHINGTON, May 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan will share keynote speaker honors during the opening session of the 2012 Annual Conference of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV), May 30, at the Grand Hyatt Washington.
More than 500 representatives of community-based organizations serving homeless veterans and their federal agency partners from all regions of the country will be attending the three-day training conference, “Halfway Home: Progress in the Five-Year Plan to End Veteran Homelessness.”
Secretary Shinseki announced the Five-Year Plan in November 2009 in response to President Barack Obama’s pledge to make ending veteran homelessness a priority of his administration. Under Shinseki’s leadership, the VA and its community-based partners have decreased the number of homeless veterans on the streets of America by more than 56 percent since the president was sworn into office.
Secretary Donovan has presided over the largest investment in supportive housing for veterans with serious mental illness and other disabilities in U.S. history, perhaps the single greatest factor in the continuing decrease in the number of homeless veterans reported since 2008. Nearly 38,000 HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers have been authorized and funded for chronically homeless veteran families, another 10,000 were approved for Fiscal Year 2012, and 10,000 more are included in the president’s budget for fiscal 2013.
“Under the leadership of President Obama, we are witnessing unprecedented national unity in the campaign to end and prevent veteran homelessness,” said Pat Ryan, NCHV Chairman of the Board of Directors. “The progress we have seen from the federal agencies, the Congress, the community partners NCHV represents, and the American people in just the last three years give rise to the expectation that this campaign will succeed.”
The opening session will also feature Kelly Caffarelli, President of The Home Depot Foundation, the lead corporate sponsor of the 2012 NCHV Annual Conference; and Dr. Janet Kemp, the VA National Director of Mental Health for Suicide Prevention.
Last year The Home Depot Foundation launched a three-year, $30 million Veterans Initiative aimed at increasing access to housing for homeless and extreme low-income veterans and their families. According to program officials, the Foundation awarded most of that in the first year and is considering new projects to support in the second year of the program.
Increasing access to mental health services and expanding the capacity and responsiveness of the VA Crisis Call Center are vital to the Five-Year Plan to End Veteran Homelessness. Suicide prevention has become one of the most critical emergency health concerns of the department, and Dr. Kemp will provide an update on VA initiatives and partnership opportunities with community-based mental health services and homeless veteran service providers.
Due to heavy demand, conference organizers had to close registration for the NCHV Annual Conference on May 14.
Website: www.nchv.org Email: email@example.com
SOURCE National Coalition for Homeless Veterans