By Marshall Jones
On April 21, Congressman Al Green (TX-09) hosted an event with the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans' Affairs Medical Center for homeless veterans, during which attendees were provided with information about VA services, live entertainment, games and children's activities.
"The Michael E. DeBakey VA Center is located in my congressional district and I am committed to working with this great medical facility to help our veterans who have sacrificed so much for this nation," Green said in a press release. "I talked to the director, Mr. Adam Walmus, and expressed my interest in holding an event to help our homeless veterans and he was very receptive. His staff has done an outstanding job and I hope the veterans who attend this event today will obtain useful information about how the local VA can provide them with assistance."
Data from the Department of Veterans Affairs indicate that hundreds of thousands of veterans have spent at least one night in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. Many other veterans are at risk of homelessness due to poverty, a lack of support, substance abuse or mental health issues.
"These are our fellow Americans who have risked their lives to keep us safe and defend our liberty," Green said. "I think we should do our best to ensure they have a stable place to call home. There are multiple VA programs that can help them a great deal and events like these are a perfect way to reach out to them."
Green also touched on current efforts in Congress to end veteran homelessness. The House of Representatives passed a bill last month, sponsored by Green, to strengthen the collaboration between the VA and Housing and Urban Development.
Green noted a desire that the event be held annually. "I would like these block parties to become a tradition that will grow in the near future. I want to ensure our veterans receive help that can bring a very positive change to their lives and also reinforce the concept of community in our city."