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- Va. lawmaker meets with Montford Point Marines. On Friday, Rep. Scott Rigell hosted lunch for the Tidewater chapter of the Montford Point Marine Association to pay tribute to the WWII Marines.
- Ending vet homelessness, one doughnut and handshake at a time. Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Scott Gould had a small army of security, Veterans Affairs staffers and media members as he took to the streets late Thursday night for the annual homeless count. Officials laughed that the spectacle probably scared away most folks before they could be counted.
- Portland attorney wins $25 billion terrorism judgment. A Portland attorney who specializes in representing American victims of terrorism has won a $25 billion judgment against the Syrian government for attacks at airports in Rome and Vienna in 1985 that killed 19 people and injured 107.
- VA Orders Health Study On Garbage Fires In Iraq, Afghanistan. The Hill The VA has ordered a study of the effects on health of burn pits used in Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of waste. The VA is reacting “to a 2011 review from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that raised questions about possible links to cancer, cardiac disease and respiratory problems.” The Hill says the VA will partner with DoD for an overall evaluation of veterans and active-duty service members.
- Donovan, Shinseki Hit DC Streets For National Homeless Count. Washington Post Secretary Shinseki and HUD Secretary Donovan hit Washington’s streets this week “to conduct the annual point-in-time count, part of a nationwide survey coordinated by HUD” that is also capturing data about homeless veterans. Shinseki, who says he’s learning from Donovan’s approach to homelessness, said of the count, “I learned a long time ago I couldn’t solve a problem I can’t see. … You’ve got to get the numbers, and then you argue for the resources.” The Post notes that “the Obama Administration has set a goal of ending veterans’ homelessness by 2015, and a coordinated effort by HUD and VA with programs targeted at the population have shown encouraging results. Last year’s count found 62,619 homeless veterans, representing a 17.2 percent decline since 2009.”
- Nevada Senator Addresses Homelessness Among Veterans. KLAS-TV “Nevada Sen. Dean Heller came to Las Vegas to talk about the problem of homeless veteran public. The Republican Senator toured downtown’s new veterans’ village facility. One hundred twenty rooms provide temporary housing for veterans and their families. Sen. Heller says his new position on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee should bring more resources to Nevada.” Sen. Dean Heller, Nevada: “I had the secretary for the Veterans Affairs in my office just last week and the issue that I brought was homeless veterans. And the issues that we have here in southern Nevada and try to tackle those issues and make sure the least it’s on the radar screen back in Washington DC. Now that I’m on Veterans Affairs I think we’re going to have more of an opportunity to discuss this even deeper.” Unidentified speaker: “The new veterans’ village also provides medical and mental health services through private partnerships. Senator Heller says he plans to bring Las Vegas veterans experts to Washington and testified before Congress.”
- Previously Homeless Veteran Gets New Job, Home. KTVT-TV “A north Texas army veteran has a new roof over his head tonight. Michael Hancock used to be homeless and dependent on drugs. But successfully completed rehab through the VA and things have really turned around. Now Hancock has a full-time job at the VA hospital and as of today he’s the proud owner of a new four-bedroom home thanks to the department of Veterans Affairs and Habitat for Humanity.” Michael Hancock: “There’s so many things I can’t wait to do. Not only cut the grass, but paint a room. It’s mine. For once in my life I have something that I can say that I’ve earned.”
- Vets Helping Vets – Coalition Helps To Find Homes, Assistance. Daytona Beach (FL) News-Journal The experience of Sherry Thurston, an Army veteran who found her belongings looted after returning to her Florida home. Thurston, “who worked in U.S. hospitals during the Vietnam War, was the 47th person helped by the Veterans Assistance Coalition since the group formed in October. One morning last week, they showed up with a truckload of donated furnishings, made sure everything was where she wanted it and said they’d try to return soon with more.” The coalition “is working with the Daytona Beach Veterans Administration office to connect their military brothers and sisters with rent assistance and other benefits, and they’ll keep combing local woods and gathering spots for the homeless until they’ve put out their hand to every veteran they think could be in need.”
- Kansas Looks To Add “Veteran” To Driver’s Licenses. Topeka Capital-Journal GOP state Rep. Mario Goico introduced a bill “to allow Kansas military veterans to declare their service on the back of their state driver’s license.” Goico, chairman of the House Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee, “said the addition would be a tool for law enforcement to identify an individual as a veteran and also see if they were a combat veteran. Such information could help diffuse a tense situation and explain why an individual may be displaying questionable behavior.” The legislation appears to have the support of Gregg Burden, executive director of the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs.
Have You Heard?
Building Renovation to Help Homeless Veterans. VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Sixty-five homeless Veterans will have a chance to transition back into society when the renovation of a building is completed at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.