WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 25, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — As many of you may have read, in January at the Point in Time Count in Los Angeles, Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald made a mistake when he misstated the details of his military service. While we do not condone that misstatement, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) would rather the community focus on what the Secretary intended to do: he was making an effort to connect to a homeless veteran who had shared personal information about an important period in his life – his military service. For tens of thousands of homeless veterans since 2010, this type of connection point has been the catalyst of real change.
Homeless veteran service providers doing outreach and case management on the front lines can empathize with what Bob was attempting to do. In our work, we listen for details and shared experiences that help us connect. That moment of connection begins to strengthen the bond of trust. These bonds give our voice meaning as we work with individual veterans to make sure they can access the services each one of them needs.
We trust that Bob did not intend to misrepresent his military service, and we applaud him for the actions he has taken to continue VA’s commitment to ending veteran homelessness – as well as other important measures he has implemented to make VA better for all veterans.
Help us keep up the momentum to end and prevent veteran homelessness. This means working together to ensure we do not become sidetracked by mistakes but instead look for ways to educate and inform. We urge you to take this opportunity to join us in supporting VA’s efforts to end and prevent veteran homelessness through robust funding of critical programs.
As you know, the White House recently released its 2016 funding request for VA, which includes significant funding gaps and decreases for homeless programs. These gaps and decreases will limit the reach of needed case managers and outreach workers. We shared our letter to the Secretary with you, and are looking forward to working with VA to ensure programs have the funding they need to end and maintain an end to veteran homelessness. To ensure that veterans do not lose these critical moments to connect, we must ensure that sufficient resources are distributed to the communities where veterans experience homelessness.
VA is not perfect, but it is improving. Join us in supporting Secretary McDonald because of his commitment to transforming VA to better serve our nation’s veterans. We thank you for your work every day and your commitment to ending homelessness for our nation’s veterans.