Obama Plan to End Homelessness Among Our Veterans

Having been a military wife in a former marriage, I know how hard life is for the military. Most readers probably think that I mean because of the separations and real threat of loss of life. But I am referring to the financial life of all military personnel and/of his/her families. I was shocked to find out that the moving, changes, separations, etc. weren’t financially covered by the US government. I know the lack of funds is a complex problem. But why doesn’t anyone start at the beginning with the military person and make sure he/she is provided all the financial support needed. It seems that the military budget is started at the end–with the machinery.

I am beginning a study and focus of the Obama plan, the Affordable Care Act, to end homelessness among veterans in five years.

(1)  The plan was released in June, 2010  is a 10 year plan to end homelessness. The plan to end homelessness for veterans is a 5 year plan within the larger plan for everyone. An overview by Melissa Howard writing for StreetSights.org:

“In the last five years, public and private sectors have made remarkable difference in reducing homelessness by merging permanent housing and wrap around support services. The vision is that “no one should experience homelessness no one should be without a safe stable place to call home.”

“The Plan is focused on four key goals:”

1) Finish the job of ending chronic homelessness in five years;

2) Prevent and end homelessness among veterans in five years;

3) Prevent and end homelessness for families, youth and children in ten years;

4) Set a path to ending all types of homelessness.

“Having stable housing is the key for helping people rebuild their lives once again. Researchers did a study on housing stability as part for the success of children and youth in school. When a child has a stable home, they’re more likely to succeed socially, emotionally and academically.”

“This Plan will achieve the goal of ending homelessness, providing stable and permanent housing for the 640,000+ men, women and children that may be on the street on any giving day in the US.”

“The Affordable Care Act will further the Plan’s goals by helping the many families and individuals that are experiencing homelessness to be able to get health care they may need. Medicaid will be expanded to individual under 65, with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level (which is at about $15,000 for a single person). The expansion will provide more families and adults with no children to enroll in Medicaid in 2014.”

2.  From the front lines on the homelessness fight, Nan Roman writes: “The Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness: Where Do We Go From Here?”

Every year, the National Alliance to End Homelessness hosts the National Conference on Ending Homelessness. Every year, advocates, practitioners, and service providers from across the country gather in the nation’s capital to see what we’ve learned to improve data, to advance program performance, to reduce homelessness. Every year, we come together to renew our hope for a country in which everyone has a place to call home — and it’s always a memorable event.

But this year is particularly special.

This year, the recession has focused the nation’s attention on the plight of the economically vulnerable. This year, the federal government’s investment to curb homelessness resulting from the recession — called the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program — reached the hands and pockets of Americans across the country. This year, the Administration released the first ever federal blueprint for action on reducing and ending homelessness, called Opening Doors.

But most importantly, for us at the Alliance, this year is the 10-year anniversary of our own Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness.

A decade ago, the Alliance released A Plan, Not a Dream: How to End Homelessness in Ten Years.

In it, we recommended strategies and practices that local communities could implement to systematically reduce — and ultimately end — homelessness at the local level. The Plan was not just aspirational and it was not just about spending more on the problem. It was a call to action around a series of practical steps that we — based on research, data and experience from the previous 15 years — believed would actually solve the problem. We emphasized the importance of data, prevention, and a focus on getting people back into housing. If all communities across the country implemented the plan, we challenged, we could end homelessness in America.

Cities across the country responded. To date, there are over 266 plans to end homelessness adapted from the original document. And they have had a huge impact. Cities that have implemented the key strategies have seen measurable reductions in their homeless populations in spite of the financial troubles of the past few years.

Now, ten years later, we pause to evaluate our progress — and two things are crystal clear.

First, homelessness still exists in our country. Bottom line — there are still people across the country without housing. Every night in the United States, hundreds of thousands of individuals and families sleep in shelters and on the streets without a roof of their own. Our mission, and the work that lies ahead, is abundantly clear.

But something else is just as clear: we are closer than ever to ending homelessness.

Photo credit.

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