As part of its drive to end homelessness among Veterans by 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs is launching a nation-wide outreach initiative, "Make the Call," to spread the message about its special programs to help homeless Veterans and their families to 28 communities across the nation in October.
"Those who have served this nation as Veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.
Shinseki noted that 28 communities -- from Atlanta to Hawaii -- will host special programs this fall highlighting local services for homeless Veterans, their families and those at risk of becoming homeless.
"Working with our partners in state and local government, the non-profit and the private sectors, we can restore our homeless Veterans and their families to the lives of dignity they've earned," Shinseki added.
This fiscal year, VA expects to spend $3.4 billion to provide health care to homeless Veterans and $800 million in specialized homeless programs. The latest studies say more than 75,000 Veterans are homeless on a typical night, and about 135,000 spend at least one night a year in a homeless shelter.
VA is encouraging family, friends and citizens in the community to "Make the Call" and help prevent and end homelessness among Veterans. Since March 2010, VA has offered a toll-free telephone number, staffed around the clock by trained professionals, to help homeless Veterans, their families and at-risk people. The number is 877-4AID-VET (or 877-424-3838).
Recently, VA has transformed its efforts in the fight against homelessness. It is changing from a program focus upon temporary, shelter-based services, to prevention, employment, permanent housing, and help to families and Veterans at risk of becoming homeless.
The special awareness and outreach programs in the 28 selected communities are in:
· Alaska -- Anchorage, Oct. 12
· Arizona -- Phoenix, Oct. 18-19
· California -- San Francisco, Oct. 19; Los Angeles and San Diego, Oct. 12
· Colorado -- Denver, Oct. 14
· District of Columbia -- Oct. 14
· Florida -- Miami, Oct. 21
· Georgia -- Atlanta, Oct. 29
· Hawaii -- Kauai, Oct. 14; Oahu, Oct. 17
· Illinois -- Chicago, Oct. 12
· Louisiana -- New Orleans, Oct. 22
· Massachusetts --Boston, Oct. 20
· Michigan -- Detroit, Oct. 12
· Missouri -- St. Louis, Oct. 17
· Montana -- Billings, Oct. 11
· Nevada -- Las Vegas, Oct. 6
· New York -- Canandaigua, Oct. 12; New York Harbor, Oct. 21
· North Carolina -- Fayetteville, Oct. 12
· Ohio -- Cleveland, Oct. 12
· Pennsylvania -- Lebanon, Oct. 12
· South Dakota -- Sioux Falls, Oct. 12
· Tennessee -- Memphis, Oct. 11
· Texas -- Houston, Oct. 20; Dallas, Oct. 18
· Washington -- Seattle, Oct. 12