• Justice Department to Invest in Expanding Veterans Treatment Courts0

    To expand the nation’s system of veterans treatment courts, the Justice Department last week pledged to award more than $4 million to 13 states and local jurisdictions to develop their own programs. The special courts divert veterans charged with nonviolent criminal offenses to a court-supervised process that emphasizes treatment and rehabilitation by offering support from health care professionals, veteran peer mentors and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). There are now 463 such court systems in the nation, reported Military Times. Two-thirds of veterans who go through the system successfully complete their regimens, and 88 percent of courts see a reduction in arrests …

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  • President’s Pledge Accelerated Effort to End Veteran Homelessness0

    The federal government has made significant progress in the fight to end veteran homelessness despite failing to meet President Obama’s pledge to eliminate the problem by the end of 2015. Veteran homelessness has dropped 47 percent since 2010, when Obama set his goal. And since the beginning of 2015, about 30 cities and counties have met federal benchmarks signaling progress in housing homeless veterans. “We knew that those were all going to be tough goals to achieve,” Ann Oliva, deputy assistant secretary for special needs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, told Stars and Stripes. “But we thought they were doable, and if we made the right policy decisions and had the right data and resources we needed, we could [make] progress, which is what we did …

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  • Number of Homeless Veterans Continues to Drop0

    The nation has cut the number of homeless veterans by 47 percent since 2010, when the Obama administration vowed to completely end veteran homelessness. “We have just about cut veterans’ homelessness in half. We’ve helped bring tens of thousands of veterans off the streets, but we’re not slowing down,” President Obama said Monday at the Disabled American Veterans convention in Atlanta. “We will not stop until every veteran who fought for America has a home in America.”

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  • Community Role in Supporting Veterans Persists, DOD Official Says0

    As she prepares to step down from leading DOD’s community and family programs before moving to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Rosemary Freitas Williams underscored the crucial role nonprofits and community-based organizations play in supporting service members, their families and veterans. “You have heard me say countless times how important it is to close the gap between DOD and VA, now more than ever,” Williams, who has served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy since July 2013, said in an email newsletter obtained by Military Times. “DOD is leaning forward with new ideas like access to Military OneSource for 365 days after transition …

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  • VA’s FY’17 Budget includes $1.6B to Fight Veteran Homelessness0

    The Veterans Affairs Department’s $78.7 billion budget request for fiscal 2017 would boost discretionary spending by 4.9 percent above the 2016 enacted level, while advancing efforts to end veteran homelessness and expanding access to health care and benefits. The request, released Tuesday, includes $1.6 billion for programs to prevent or reduce veteran homelessness, including $300 million for supportive services for veteran families to promote housing stability; $496 million for the HUD-VASH program, in which VA provides case management services for at-risk veterans and their families and the Housing and Urban Development Department provides permanent housing through its Housing Choice Voucher program; and $247 million in grant and per diem payments that support temporary housing provided by community-based organizations …

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  • VA Needs Authority to Close Unneeded Facilities, McDonald Says0

    A BRAC-like process would help the Veterans Affairs Department shed 10 million square feet of space that it no longer needs and save $25 million a year, Secretary Robert McDonald said Wednesday. “We need Congress to get the courage to allow us to close these spaces so we can make better use of the money we have,” McDonald told the audience at a military and family forum. The VA says it has 336 buildings that are vacant or less than half-occupied, requiring $25 million in caretaker costs each year that could be used to hire 200 registered nurses or pay for 150,000 primary care visits …

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