Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald has announced $12.8 million in renewal funding through the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program to 20 community agencies that currently provide transitional housing with supportive services for homeless Veterans under the Transition in Place (TIP) model.
The Veteran’s Administration said that as a key component of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) plan to eliminate homelessness among Veterans, VA’s GPD program provides per diem payments to help public and non-profit organizations establish and operate supportive housing for specific homeless Veteran populations, which includes the innovative TIP approach to assist homeless Veterans transition from homelessness. The VA said TIP encourages rapid movement from transitional housing to permanent housing which enables Veterans to live as independently, as possible, while increasing housing stabilization.
The largest non-profit organization in America that deals exclusively with helping homeless veterans to get back on their feet is United States Veterans Initiative. atombash.com have covered the non-profit organization for the past five years. US Vets, as it is informally called, has been in the business of taking care of homeless veterans 365 days a year for a quarter of a century.
atombash.com has attended numerous events sponsored the non-profit organization. The present writer is an eyewitness to the work that has been done in the District of Columbia to end homelessness for veterans in the metro area. In previous efforts to help homeless veterans, the non-profit organization has successfully hosted a Christmas Feast for Veterans, provided a job training program to help veterans get back on their feet. And most recently, on October 9, 2015, held a roof top social event to auction artworks to raise funds for homeless veteran programs. Each program was successful and stressed the need for people who have sacrificed their lives to keep America free to be helped and assisted by the nation that used their services to protect the nation.
The U.S. Veterans Initiative needs support from people who believe that problems soldiers face after returning from battle are directly related to the horrible experiences they faced in war. Many veterans began their drug and alcohol dependency while serving in the most troubled locations around the world. The executive director of the Washington site gave atombash.com an exclusive interview to explain the objects of his organization.
“Basically, what I want to tell the media and the folks who are concerned about the veteran’s issues here in Washington, D.C., we are on the forefront. Our organization, which is the United States Veteran’s Initiative is the largest non-profit in the country for veterans and veterans at risk, “Executive Director Clifton Lewis said.
Lewis made it clear that talking about the homelessness issue is not enough, “It starts with the services that is the bottom line, the services and the programs. We have a number of programs we operate here at U.S. Vets. We have a homeless vets housing program. We have a supportive services for veteran’s families program. We have a transitional housing program,” Lewis said.
As the nation turned its full focus on the problems facing veterans in 2014, United States Veteran’s Initiative had been working to help veterans for over 25 years. Although many of the events over the past five years did not have extensive press coverage, atombash.com sat down with homeless veterans and their families who were being helped by the organization. At the Christmas feast one woman reported that United States Veterans had not only help her end her homelessness, but moreover over the organization assisted her in gaining a college education where she achieved a 4.0 grade point average. The Dean of the college sent the present writer official proof from the college that the previous homeless veteran had achieved the amazing academic success.
When asked about the sight of homeless veterans sleeping on the streets of the District of Columbia Lewis became very serious in his pronouncements, “Veterans who came back from war need services, they need good programs, and they need good case management services. We are here to offer that,” Lewis said.
“Our organization has been around for 25 years. We are experts in the field of providing services for homeless veterans and veterans at risk. And in order for us to do our job, and to do it well, we need support and help from individuals like you. Individuals in the community that can help to support our programs and services,” Lewis said.
The program on October 9, 2015, was an excellent example of offering an event that would attract wealthy and successful business and professional leaders to the United States Veterans Initiative headquarters to discuss how they can help homeless veterans while making donations and participating in the art auction with food and great live entertainment. Lewis made it clear that the purpose of the event was to encourage those present to give money to help the homeless veterans.
“I am here to make a plea to all of those who are concerned about our nation’s heroes. I want them to reach out to United States Veterans Initiative. They can go online to www.usvetsinc.org and look at our organization,” Lewis said.
Program Manager Linda Holland said people who want to make donations to United States Veterans Initiative to help homeless veterans can also mail their checks in to the non-profit headquarters at 111 K Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002. For those who have questions about financially supporting the work to help homeless veterans they can also call the Washington site at 202-545-1660.
Today is Veteran’s Day in America. For any veteran who is spending this sacred day living on the street the question of never breaking a promise must come to mind. America promised to never leave a soldier behind. The Veteran’s Administration has increased funding to fight homelessness among veterans and United States Veterans Initiative is keeping that promise.
Happy Veteran’s Day, America.