Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the Florida Congressional Delegation, attended a briefing this morning where the Veterans Administration (VA) notified Members of Congress and their staff on the steps the VA had taken to contact the veterans who it had still not been able to reach.
The VA informed the Congresswoman that it had refined its original risk pool to exclude those veterans who did not go to their examination or were not given an appointment. It also informed her that the VA is notifying local homeless shelters hoping to find more veterans in the risk pool.
The VA stated that the previous risk pool was 3,348 veterans, 2609 is the new risk pool and out of that figure 2,114 have been contacted which leaves 332 veterans still not contacted. The VA also stated that what is publicly available now is a figure of 495 that are still to be contacted but that this number is erroneous and it will update as soon as possible to the 332 figure.
Said Ros-Lehtinen, "I asked the VA to make direct visits, knocking on doors of homes and locales where those still at risk may be and also sending non certified letters, as well as certified so they can reach veterans who are not available when the mail arrives. I want to also know why the VA is taking weeks between sending letters. I also asked that the VA disseminate more information to the 66 veterans who have declined to be tested and to encourage them to get tested. There are so many options at the VA's disposal that to say they cannot find the veterans is simply unacceptable.
And lastly I truly believe that it is a great shame that the primary place we are looking for veterans outside of listed homes is at homeless shelters. This reflects poorly on our great nation that those who have served us and sacrificed so much for their country are now living on the street."