Veterans

October 18, 2013

Base joins fight against Vet homelessness

Tracy Ellingsen
Beacon stringer

For service members transitioning from the military back to civilian life, readjusting can be a daunting task. Finding somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and civilian healthcare is a new experience for those who are used to the military providing these services.

Unfortunately, every year there are veterans who do not fully reintegrate and end up living on the streets. The problem of veteran homelessness in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has become so severe that quarterly summits have been organized to bring together those interested in ending the epidemic.

More than 50 service providers gathered at the U.S. Vets facility on the east side of March Air Reserve Base last month to discuss, and propose solutions to, the issue of homelessness among military veterans. The summit included representatives from the Veterans Administration; county and city service providers; and non-profit and religious organizations.

Valerie Fioretta, the director of the Airmen and Family Readiness Center at March ARB, represented the base at the meeting and attentively sat in the front row for the entire two-hour summit. Not only was Fioretta able to provide relative information to the meeting about her experiences working with today’s service members, she also gained valuable information about programs she can utilize to better assist her airmen.

“I learned about the HUD VASH program,” she said. “I had not heard about that before.”

The HUD VASH program is a partnership between Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program. The housing authority works to find housing for veterans, and the VA provides funding for the housing. More than 100 formerly homeless veterans have already been housed through the program this year in Riverside County alone.

The VA also used to summit to bring up another important topic facing veterans: suicide. Thomas Darko from the VA gave a presentation to the service providers on what to do if one of the veterans they are working with seems suicidal.

“Transport the veteran to a hospital to get attention,” said Darko. “If that is not possible, call 911 and call the police; not so the veteran gets arrested, but so they get the assistance they need.” He emphasized that certain myths about suicide are not true and need to be corrected. For example, the thought that there is nothing that can be done for someone who is suicidal is a myth, he said.

Many veterans are able to get the help they need and eventually overcome their suicidal thoughts.

Homelessness and suicide are issues that veterans from all branches, wars and generations face. As veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to leave the military and enter the veteran population, there are a multitude of agencies and organizations that stand ready to augment the VA in the arena of veteran care.

“I come to these meetings quarterly to network and meet community partners,” said Fioretta.” I want to make sure I know how to best serve our Airmen.”

Fioretta said that the housing issues are something she deals with every month and that the issue of homelessness does not discriminate.

“Male, female, with kids, without kids, it affects everyone,” she said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

VA, Congress work to change VA Choice eligibility

Congress and the Veterans Affairs Department are working to change eligibility rules and open the VA Choice program to veterans who can’t get needed medical care at their closest VA facility. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said lawmakers and VA officials are working to change the regulation that bars...
 
 
square

‘Retired Air Force Reservist finds inspiration through loss’ addendum

Angela Alexander was a member of the 56th Aerial Port Squadron, March Air Reserve Base and on annual tour in Japan when she was notified that her family had been in a severe car crash. She was told her husband, Suri and two dau...
 
 

Former commander, prisoner of war tells reservists how will power can be stronger than firepower

McChord Field, Wash. — Only in America can a former convict become a brigadier general. Former resident of the prison camp known as the Hanoi Hilton, then Capt. James Sehorn never imagined a lifelong relationship with the United States Air Force or rising to the rank of brigadier general. Now retired and living a comfortable...
 

 
Untitled-1

Post 9/11 GI Bill: how to apply, transfer benefits

Editor’s note: This process applies to Air Force Reservists only. Members of the Air National Guard should refer to their retention office for information on how they can apply, transfer benefits. The Post 9/11 GI Bill is a g...
 
 

California DMV to unveil Veteran driver license, ID card

Late next year, California’s nearly two million Veterans will have the chance to get a special Veteran marking on their California driver license or ID card. The word “VETERAN” on their card will indicate they have served in the United States Armed Forces. The Veteran designation will cost an additional $5. To get the new...
 
 

VA expands eligibility for veterans health care

Washington, DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), under authority from the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (“VACAA”), today announced expanded eligibility for Veterans in need of mental health care due to sexual assault or sexual harassment that occurred during their military service. This trauma is commonly known as military sexual...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin