Ending Veteran Homelessness

On Veterans Day 2015 (11/11/15), Governor McAuliffe announced that Virginia was the first state in the Nation to functionally end veteran homelessness.  When the announcement was made, the Commonwealth had permanently housed 1,918 homeelss veterans since October 2014.  We are still going strong! Virginia was one of the first states to sign onto the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by the End of 2015.  

When we say we have “functionally ended” veteran homelessness, that means that we have reached a point where we are housing more veterans than those who are being identified as homeless.  Any veteran who becomes homeless will move into permanent housing within an average of 90 days of connecting with a community based homelessness response system that includes supportive services that can assist in sustaining the veteran’s housing.

Changing economic realities, the unpredictability of life, and unsafe or unwelcoming family environments may create situations where individuals, families, or youth could experience or be at-risk of homelessness. Homelessness can strike at any time, and therefore may not ever truly be “eliminated”.  The key, however, is having a community based response and service system in place for identifying these individuals and quickly meeting their needs.

Therefore, functionally ending veteran homelessness does not mean that no veteran will ever experience a housing crisis again. Functionally ending veteran homelessness means that every community has a sustainable, systematic response in place that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible, or is otherwise a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience.

Get involved!  If you hear of or see any other homeless veterans, please refer them to the VA's homeless hotline - (877)424-3838 or the Commonwealth's Department of Veterans Services (DVS)' 24/7 assistance line - 211.   

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Accelerating Access to Health Care For Veterans

On November 3, 2014, Governor McAuliffe convened a Summit on Accelerating Access to Health Care for Veterans with key VA, state, and private health provider leaders.  Inspired by the Governor’s A Healthy Virginia plan, we are placing a sharp focus on bringing stakeholders together and leveraging all federal and state resources to ensure quality care for our veterans.  Virginia  was the first state to convene this type of summit the first state to do VA-FQHC provider agreements, with partnerships at 22 sites throughout the Commonwealth.  

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Veteran Education, Training, and Employment (VETE)

Virginia's veterans have world-class training and invaluable experience that they received during their military service.  Their leadership and in-demand skills sets are essential for Virginia’s new economy.  The Commonwealth is creating seamless transitions for Virginia’s veterans with high quality education and workforce services that accelerate career opportunities.  The Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program, specifically, aims to build vital public-private partnerships by leveraging state and federal agencies and industry leaders to share resources and educate employers on how to tap into the exceptional pool of talented veterans.  By ensuring and increasing access to education, training, and employment services, Virginia will see that all veterans are afforded opportunities to reach their full potential.

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The Secretary focuses on two distinct areas to address the defense issues in Virginia: (1) assess the Commonwealth’s military and defense installations and activities; and (2) work with the military commanders of the Armed Forces stationed in the Commonwealth and encourage regular communication on continued military facility viability, the exploration of privatization opportunities, and issues affecting preparedness, public safety, and security. The Department of Defense (DOD) invests over $50 billion in government contracts and salaries in our state, and industries directly supporting our military installations add billions more to this number.  With potential future cuts to DOD, it is critical to maintain a valuable line of communication and cooperation with military leaders in the Commonwealth.  Additionally, through regular visits and meetings, there is a focus to reinforce the constructive relationships which have developed over the years between the Commonwealth and the military community to include the quality of life for the family members.

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