Initiatives to Combat Veterans' Homelessness

Jun 17, 2015

  Several years and one administration ago, we reported on some of the challenges pertaining to veterans’ homelessness.  Since then, new leaders have vowed to do all they can to eliminate it within the Commonwealth. 

Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs and Retired Admiral John Harvey credits Governor McAuliffe for the initiative--and says his agency hit the ground running. One of the greatest challenges veterans describe is not receiving benefits because they don't have the proper ID.  Harvey says in some cases, they don't meet the criteria.

"Cause a lot of people claim to be veterans but they haven't met the definition of what covers somebody with veterans benefits, so that's job number one."

But he says that doesn't preclude them from obtaining some type of housing."The Department of Housing and Urban Development has a little broader view that for veterans homelessness, if you served, regardless of the type of discharge you've received or how long you've served, then they include you as a veteran."

Harvey says through the three C's of cooperation, collaboration, and communication, teams of nonprofits, the Virginia Employment Commission, the Departments of Housing and Veterans Affairs, police departments and other entities search for and identify veterans. Harvey says so far this method has helped house more than 700 veterans since last fall.