We’ve all walked past them—lying in doorways under boxes or bundled up on the corner asking for food and spare change. In the U.S. today, homelessness is a serious issue for Veterans and non-Veterans alike. But all too often, the homeless are invisible—or a nuisance associated with city living. It’s especially troubling to me when I consider each was once an ammo bearer, a radio operator, a team leader, or a rifleman—and that each one potentially once wore the same patch I did.  For this reason, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki pledged over a year ago to end Veteran homelessness within five years—and he did it as part of a government-wide effort to find solutions to the problem once and for all.

As part of that effort last week, volunteers fanned out in 4,000 cities and conducted over 400 point-in-time counts and interviews of the homeless across the country. The effort was led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs to get out and record the number of homeless people who’ve taken to the streets.

Before the Washington, D.C. count began, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan explained to the volunteer counters the importance of not only knowing how many people are homeless, but how and for how long, among other important factors like previous income and family support. This helps determine changing trends in populations, the effectiveness of existing resources and acts as a measure of success (and failure) of current programs.

The volunteers emptied out of a downtown church into the freezing night, trudging down snow and ice covered sidewalks and armed with clipboards, bent on collecting demographic information of the homeless. Along for the count was VA Deputy Secretary W. Scott Gould, who took up a stack of surveys and led a group through the center of the city. Government executives at Deputy Secretary Gould’s level usually show up to this sort of thing for a quick photo op, a brief speech, and then head out as soon as the cameras stop clicking. But he stuck around for the entire count, which ended near midnight for his group.

“Are you a military Veteran?” was one of the most important questions Deputy Secretary Gould and other counters asked of the homeless that night. HUD uses the count as a way to determine the number of homeless Veterans in the country. It’s important to get that number right so that solutions are tailored to the actual number of homeless. A crucial aspect of the count was a card with resources available for homeless Vets to utilize. VA supplies that information not only for those who are currently homeless but those who are at risk of living on the streets. Prevention remains a primary tool in the effort to end homeless for Veterans.

From what I witnessed during the count, the homeless are often not lazy transients who choose to be on the streets. Many had families and jobs but fell on hard times like many in the country. Veterans are historically more at risk of becoming homeless than civilians, for a variety of reasons: post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and the difficult transition from the military. Some in our society seek to blame the homeless for their plight, but for many Veterans, it’s a matter of dealing with the unique challenges that Vets face after their service both at home and in war.

Veteran homelessness is a shameful blight on this country that has been allowed to fester far too long. On any given night, approximately 107,000 Veterans across the country go to sleep on benches, in back alleys and under bridges. Roughly twice that number will experience homelessness at some point this year. Drastic action must be taken not only to drive down the amount of homeless Vets, but keep a new generation off the streets. And the action we took on a cold night last week was just one of the many programs we’ve undertaken at VA.

    Learn more about VA’s resources for homeless Veterans, those who are at risk of becoming homeless, and their families.

    View photos of VA Deputy Secretary Gould’s team conducting its point-in-time count in Washington, D.C.

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Published on Jan. 31, 2011

Estimated reading time is 3.6 min.

Views to date: 279


  1. abel March 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I am a homeless veteran currently staying at a VOA. I am writing to ask if there is any help available for child support issues. I have been struggling to get on my feet and do the right thing by paying my dues for my children. I am just overwhelmed by the arrears and interest to the point of my current situation. It is a hardship that I have been living with for a while now. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Cynthia Collins July 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    In these harsh, often brutal times, living can be a chore – something people struggle with on a daily basis more so than in many decades past. My sister, whom I will refer to as Terri to protect her privacy, is a testament to the daily – even yearly – struggle to simply survive day-to-day. Terri was once a soldier, serving our country at a time when Vietnam was foremost in the public consciousness. Bright, articulate and proud, Terri dedicated several years to the US military at a time when many women did not do such things. Terri’s life was a difficult one. Years of abuse – too devastating to detail here – left her scarred for life. But she chose to channel her talents into something good, something useful, by joining the army. After serving honorably, Terri was discharged. The years after her service were not kind to Terri. Years passed and Terri descended into an unimaginable life of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a life spent living out on the streets of Washington DC. Time went on and I could not find my sister. I had no idea that her circumstance had become so desperate. Eventually, I did find her. I was both overwhelmed and devastated to learn of her dire living conditions. Thanks to the increasing reach of the internet, I finally tracked her down. She was living, part-time, in a homeless shelter – the A-SPAN. As I began the difficult task of reestablishing contact with a sister I had not spoken to in decades, I learned more about the life-saving shelter that had extended a much needed hand to my sister when she most needed assistance. The A-SPAN not only sheltered my sister during the cold, cruel winter months, it also provided her with much needed medical care. Suffering from frostbite and the fear of being a woman without safety in the mean streets of an urban city, Terri endured countless fears and physical pain as she fought to simply live – day-to-day. Without any doubt, I can say this wonderful shelter saved Terri’s life. For all those who find themselves, through no fault of their own, in dire and terrible conditions, the A-SPAN has been a godsend. Their support – both physical and emotional – cannot be underestimated. In the richest nation in the world, life for a significant population of our citizens is impossible for many of us to even fathom. Yet, through the phenomenal work of this shelter, many of those struggling and desperate people is made better. They are given a chance – an opportunity to lift themselves out of the mire of homelessness and the feelings of desolation. Many of us take for granted the simple yet powerful opportunity to sleep in a safe place every night – to bathe and eat and exist in a place we can depend on and rely on every day. Though Terri’s plight hits home with me personally, there are countless others who share her struggles, whose troubles fall beneath the radar of most people’s every day’s lives. Only through the A-SPAN do these troubled people find sustenance and, just as importantly, hope. These harsh economic times have contributed to reduced funding for many worthwhile programs that serve the disenfranchised among us. Although my sister, thanks to the A-SPAN, has begun the difficult task of pulling herself up and out of the desperate mire of hopelessness and homelessness, many, many others remain. These are good people, desperate people, who only need a measure of assistance to pull themselves up, regroup, and once again become contributing members of our society. I implore you to not forget these individuals – all of whom have families and loved ones who care about them but either cannot locate them or, like myself are not in position financially to give aid. Any help, any support, will not only be greatly appreciated, but will save lives. If not for other generous people, my sister would not have survived – would not have been given the opportunity to raise herself up and begin anew. A chance to thrive is all most would ask. A chance at life – the life many of us take for granted. Please remember – and if possible – lend whatever aid you may to the A-SPAN in its noble endeavor to offer a much welcomed hand up to those who have fallen on hard times.

  3. Leds Display June 6, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Very Very good information. Thanks for such post I really appreciate that. well done and many thanks indeed.

    Led display

  4. Ernie Pyles May 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Just another note on care in the VA facilities. Why does it take so long to get an appointment at the CBOCs (community-based outpatient clinics)? 30 days or more, unless you have major suck with the outpatient appointment clerk. I like the idea and practicality of the CBOC, especially in the D.C. area, since I hate like hell to go up to the NE Veteran’s Hospital and Ghetto.

    Generally speaking, I dislike the ambience of that D.C. VA Hospital/Vagrancy Smoke shack. It’s so full of people just hanging out in the lobbies, apparently with little to do otherwise. You’d think the entire Army and other services only recruited blacks were you to do the census up there. Many blacks apparently think that too, at least at that venue. The big red brick VA teat. It really makes me wonder, how many hanging around there are TRULY entitled to VA benefits. Sorry, that’s going to tick some people off, but there was a time when beaucoup paperwork was acquired and many a specious VA claim for pension/compensation/healthcare was given on fraudulent DD214s and comrade testimonies. Every wonder why the pre-91 claims were considered invalid by the VA? Something to that alright. But, that’s a cultural problem akin to entitlement programs throughout the Fed.

    That all said, there are some mighty fine people who work there, but some real scabs there too, with plenty of G.A.S. attitudes. But, the latter are hard to fire, more so since 70 percent are minority hires. I’ll never forget the run-around I got from one department, when the skull cap wearing (NOI -Nation of Islam) dude couldn’t, or wouldn’t make me an appointment inside of 45 days. I went back to the provider and it was made within 4 days, go figure. Provider knew something was going on, Op’s normal, it appears.

    But, getting to the NE DC VA sucks a lot; nothing is direct transportation, it takes me an hour and a half each way on public transportation. Yes, I am disabled, but not incapacitated, so I prefer metro and bus, than driving. So it’s a real pisser to have to deal with the shananigans from some.

  5. Ernie Pyles May 17, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Readers, please understand me clearly on this. If you were injured while on active duty, get it in your military records. If you’re having trouble adjusting “back in the world”, see mental health, life skills, your commander or First Sergeant, but get someone to advocate on your behalf. If you’re in the NG or Reserves, ensure you get the proper Line of Duty determination and keep copies of your records. Scan them, put them on CD and lock ’em up. You’ll need to have verification at times, so know your chain of command and your comrades in arms who can write statements on your behalf…if need be. The VFW mags and DAV are constantly full of articles and enquiries by former service men (and some women) who try to contact former members of their units, to testify on their behalf. That’s tough after many decades.

    All this said, it’s your personal responsibility to take care or yourself, just as it was to clean your weapon and stow your gear away properly. Get help early and get it into your records. Everyone has an opportunity for a post-deployment health assessment so do it! Failure to get this done is most generally your own dang fault.

  6. Brenda Hayes February 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    THE BLACK HOLE (of Veterans)

    Thought I would pass this on to the Veteran Community.

    If the Homeless Veterans are not on the streets; then you might find them here (eventually )

    Brandon, As head of the VP BLOGSITE team:

    I would appreciate it if you could have someone to do a commentary on what the VA is doing about this (Veterans Courts) and what is the plan for placing them in all States? Also, who is the Under Secretary that this endeavor would come under? What should the Veteran Community be seeing and by when?


    Check your local Department of Veteran Services at your State and see what’s happening and who is in place? What is the Goal and Action Plan and Timelines!! Keep asking if you don’t get a satisfactory answer.

    Check out Col. Dan’s website— Angelfire.

    This article came by way of Col Dan. He’s tirelessly working for Veterans and their families.

    I took all references to email addys so this post can avoid “waiting moderation” and/or possibly end up in the VA VANTAGE POINT BLOG BLACKHOLE!


    PROBLEM: I had one post disappear altogether!! What’s up with that? It was awaiting moderation and completely disappeared; so I reposted it somewhere else; (it also is “waiting moderation”). It was under Dave…the acting Secretary (One chance to get it Right).

    I also had a post “waiting moderation” since February 9th; might have been this one.

    CONCLUSION: If the VA can’t get simple IT problems solved on this BOARD; then why do you expect Veterans to believe the VA can do anything else with the broken VA Systems?

    Vetwife Advocate

    Story out of yakima-herald

    Partial reprint below:

    By Phil Ferolito Yakima Herald-Republic

    YAKIMA, Wash. — From behind a visitor’s window in the Yakima County jail, decorated Iraq War veteran Dustin Stump vividly recalls the firefights, explosions and killings in and around Baghdad.

    He pro udly remembers the time he provided cover fire for his fellow soldiers, an act of bravery that earned him the Army Commendation Medal.

    “Everyone said, ‘Stump, you were out in the middle of that field and rounds were going off all around you,'” the 24-year-old recalls with a subtle laugh. “They said, ‘Man, you crazy.'”

    But since those glory days, life has taken a sharp turn for the slim war hero from Satus. He’s been in jail since September on charges of armed robbery, leaving his mom, Leslie Stump-Milam, devastated.

    “It’s very gut-wrenching,” Stump-Milam says tearfully. “A mom never wants to see her son do this, especially after he’s gotten back from where he came from.”

    A good country boy who always made his mom proud, Stump went off to war with his head held high, only to return with the kind of physical and mental scars that would test the bravest of soldiers.

    He’s been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury from an explosion that knocked him unconscious for four hours. One of his ankles was shattered after he stepped on an improvised explosive device. And he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, an anxiety illness with symptoms as varied as flashbacks, insomnia, agitation and unexplained anger.

    He receives no help from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and he’s not getting any disability from the military.

    On top of all this, Stump finds himself deep in the criminal justice system.

    While most of the 2.1 million service members who have served in Iraq and Af ghanistan readjust to life at home with a minimum of stress, many do not. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, one in five service members returning from the wars report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression. That amounts to 420,000 service members deployed in both wars since 2001.

    Statistics on the number of injured vets who turn to crime are nearly impossible to come by, and those that are reported are disputed.

    But experts say vets who end up committing crimes have fallen into a black hole between the time they are discharged and when they break the law. And it’s in that critical time that many don’t seek help and end up in jail, homeless or suicidal.

    • Ernie Pyles May 17, 2011 at 11:47 am

      This last article on Stump makes me ask the first and obvious question…did he get a less than honorable discharge from the service? He did, apparently, get into a lot of trouble while on AD at Fort Richardson, AK., i.e., two DUI’s and other crimes. So he got out with a medical discharge, he say…but is that true? Is he hiding something? It sounds like something else is going on, as the VA and the military are not as blind about all that as some people claim. If you FU enough, you’ll get booted out, whether you claim PTSD or TBI after the fact may not be enough to clear the record. Hundreds of people seek medical and psychiatric determinations AFTER they get in trouble, and by the time the see the JAG, it’s a bit late, and quite obvious.

      If anyone wishes to “fall on the proverbial sword” over someone, ensure you get all the facts and not look at the DOD, the VA or other Fed Agencies as completely without a soul.

      And furthermore, as someone who had seen the effects of the drug culture on the Vietnam era troops, let me add this. Many, if not most of the drug problems we had with troops was attributed to their use of drugs before and during their tours. Stop thinking that everyone who serves in combat is entitled to gork themselves out on marijuana or other hallucinogens because of PTSD or any other injury. I’m fed up with that old canard. Most vets have done just fine out of the millions who’ve served, and don’t set up society as having some expectation that they are entitled to commit bad behavior.

  7. Brenda Hayes February 18, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    TO: Veteran Community


    I know this will be “moderated”; but could you please approve it less than a week? I have another post in “One Chance to Get it Right” and it is still ”
    awaiting moderation”.

    *Subject:* Veterans’ Benefits

    Subject: Veterans’ Benefits


    *_Comment:_** Someone has gone to a lot of trouble. If this helps one
    person, then it was worthwhile. Please pass this on to all Veterans on
    your e-mail list.*
    *Below are web-sites that provide information on Veterans benefits and
    how to file/ask for them. Accordingly, there are many sites that explain
    how to obtain books, military/medical records, information and how to
    appeal a denied claim with the VA. Please pass this information on to
    every Veteran you know. Nearly 100% of this information is free and
    available for all veterans, the only catch is: you have to ask for it,
    because they won’t tell you about a specific benefit unless you ask for
    it. You need to know what questions to ask so the right doors open for
    you and then be ready to have an advocate who is willing to work with
    and for you, stay in the process, and press for your rights and your
    best interests.*

    *Appeals *_http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch05.doc_* *
    *Board of Veteran’s Appeals *_http://www.va.gov/vbs/bva/_* *
    *CARES Commission *_http://www.va.gov/vbs/bva/_* *
    *CARES Draft National Plan *_http://www1.va.gov/cares/page.cfm?pg=105_* *
    *Center for Minority Veterans
    *_http://www1.va.gov/centerforminorityveterans/_* *
    *Center for Veterans Enterprise *_http://www.vetbiz.gov/default2.htm_* *
    *Center for Women Veterans *_http://www1.va.gov/womenvet/_* *
    *Clarification on the changes in VA healthcare for Gulf War Veterans
    *_http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000016.html_* *
    *Classified Records – American Gulf War Veterans Assoc
    *_http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/Forum18/HTML/000011.html_* *
    _Compensation for Disabilities Associated with the Gulf War Service _
    *Compensation Rate Tables, 12-1-03
    *_http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/comp01.htm_* *
    *Department of Veterans Affairs Home Page *_http://www.va.gov/_* *
    *Directory of Veterans Service Organizations
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vso/index.cfm?template=view_* *
    _Disability Examination Worksheets Index, Comp _

    *Due Process
    *_http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch02.doc_* *
    *Duty to Assist
    *_http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch01.doc_* *
    *Electronic Code of Federal Regulations *_http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ecfr/_* *
    *Emergency, Non-emergency, and Fee Basis Care
    *_http://www1.va.gov/opa/vadocs/fedben.pdf_* *
    *Environmental Agents *_http://www1.va.gov/environagents/_
    *Environmental Agents M10
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1002_* *
    *Establishing Combat Veteran Eligibility
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=315_* *
    *_http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DUHandbook1303122304.DOC_* and
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1158_* *
    *See also, Depleted Uranium Fact Sheet
    *_http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DepletedUraniumFAQSheet.doc_* *
    *_http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DUHANDBOOKNONGW130340304.DOC_* *
    *Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependants 2005
    *_http://www1.va.gov/opa/vadocs/fedben.pdf_* OR,
    _http://www1.va..gov/opa/vadocs/current_benefits.htm_ *
    *Forms and Records Request *_http://www.va.gov/vaforms/_* *
    *General Compensation Provisions
    *Geriatrics and Extended Care *_http://www1.va.gov/geriatricsshg/_* *
    *Guideline for Chronic Pain and Fatigue MUS-CPG
    *_http://www.oqp.med.va.gov/cpg/cpgn/mus/mus_base.htm_* *
    *Guide to Gulf War Veteran’s Health
    *_http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/VHIgulfwar.pdf_* *
    *Gulf War Subject Index
    * *
    *Gulf War Veteran’s Illnesses Q&As
    *_http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/GWIllnessesQandAsIB1041.pdf_* *
    _http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch04.doc_* *
    *Homeless Veterans *_http://www1.va.gov/homeless/_* *
    *HSR&D Home *_http://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/_* *
    *Index to Disability Examination Worksheets C&P exams
    *_http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/exams/index.htm_* *
    *Ionizing Radiation *_http://www1.va.gov/irad/_* *
    *Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom Veterans VBA
    *_http://www.vba.va.gov/EFIF/_* *
    *M 10 for spouses and children <
    _http://www1..va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1007_ *
    *M10 Part III Change 1
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1008_* *
    *M21-1 Table of Contents *_http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/M21_1.html_* *
    *Mental Disorders, Schedule of Ratings
    *_http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_130.DOC_* *
    *Mental Health Program Guidelines
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1094_* *
    *Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers
    *_http://www.mirecc.med.va.gov/_* *
    *MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Centers of Excellence
    *_http://www.va.gov/ms/about.asp_* *
    *My Health e Vet *_http://www.myhealth.va.gov/_* *
    *NASDVA.COM *_http://nasdva.com/_* *
    *National Association of State Directors *_http://www.nasdva.com/_
    *National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
    *Neurological Conditions and Convulsive Disorders, Schedule of Ratings
    * *
    *OMI (Office of Medical Inspector) *_http://www.omi.cio.med.va.gov/_* *
    *Online VA Form 10-10EZ _https://www.1010ez..med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez/_ *
    *Parkinson’s Disease and Related Neurodegenerative Disorders
    *_http://www1.va.gov/resdev/funding/solicitations/docs/parkinsons.pdf_* *
    *and, *_http://www1.va.gov/padrecc/_* *
    *Peacetime Disability Compensation
    *Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability or Death
    *Persian Gulf Registry
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1003_* *
    *This program is now referred to as Gulf War Registry Program (to
    include Operation Iraqi Freedom) as of March 7, 2005:
    _http://www1..va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1232_ *
    *Persian Gulf Registry Referral Centers
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1006_* *
    *Persian Gulf Veterans’ Illnesses Research 1999, Annual Report To
    Persian Gulf Veterans’ Illnesses Research 2002, Annual Report To
    Congress *_http://www1.va.gov/resdev/prt/gulf_war_2002/GulfWarRpt02.pdf_* *
    *Phase I PGR
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1004_* *
    *Phase II PGR
    *Policy Manual Index *_http://www.va.gov/publ/direc/eds/edsmps.htm_* *
    *Power of Attorney
    Project 112 (Including Project SHAD) *_http://www1.va.gov/shad/_* *
    *Prosthetics Eligibility
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=337_* *
    *Public Health and Environmental Hazards Home Page
    *_http://www.vethealth.cio.med.va.gov/_* *
    *Public Health/SARS _http://www..publichealth.va.gov/SARS/_ *
    *Publications Manuals
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/publications.cfm?Pub=4_* *
    *Publications and Reports
    *Records Center and Vault Homepage
    *_http://www.aac.va.gov/vault/default.html_* *
    *Records Center and Vault Site Map
    *_http://www.aac.va.gov/vault/sitemap.html_* *
    *Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses April 11,
    2002 *_http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/Minutes_April112002.doc_* *
    *Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses *
    *Research and Development
    *_http://www.appc1.va.gov/resdev/programs/all_programs.cfm_* *
    *Survivor’s and Dependents’ Educational Assistance
    *_http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partiii_chapter35_.html_* **
    *Title 38 Index Parts 0-17 **
    *Part 18 *
    *Title 38 Part 3 Adjudication Subpart A “Pension, Compensation, and
    Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
    *Title 38 Pensions, Bonuses & Veterans Relief (also Ã,§ 3.317
    Compensation for certain disabilities due to undiagnosed illnesses found
    *Title 38§ 4.16 Total disability ratings for compensation based on
    unemployability of the individual. PART A “SCHEDULE FOR RATING
    DISABILITIES Subpart à “General Policy in Rating
    * *
    *U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims *_http://www.vetapp.gov/_* *
    *VA Best Practice Manual for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    _http://www.avapl.org/pub/PTSD%20Manual%20final%206.pdf_ *
    *VA Fact Sheet _http://www1.va.gov/opa/fact/gwfs.html_ *
    *VA Health Care Eligibility
    *_http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/home/hecmain.asp_* *
    *_http://www.avapl.org/gaf/gaf.html_* *
    *VA Life Insurance Handbook ¬” Chapter 3
    *VA Loan Lending Limits and Jumbo Loans
    *_http://valoans.com/va_facts_limits.cfm_* *
    *VA MS Research *_http://www.va.gov/ms/about.asp_* *
    *VA National Hepatitis C Program _http://www.hepatitis.va.gov/_ *
    *VA Office of Research and Development *_http://www1.va.gov/resdev/_* *
    *VA Trainee Pocket Card on Gulf War
    *_http://www.va.gov/OAA/pocketcard/gulfwar.asp_* *
    *VA WMD EMSHG *_http://www1.va.gov/emshg/_* *
    *VA WRIISC-DC *_http://www.va.gov/WRIISC-DC/_* *
    *VAOIG Hotline Telephone Number and Address
    * *
    *Vet Center Eligibility – Readjustment Counseling Service
    *_http://www.va.gov/rcs/Eligibility.htm_* *
    *Veterans Benefits Administration Main Web Page
    *_http://www.vba.va.gov/_* *
    *Veterans Legal and Benefits Information *_http://valaw.org/_* *
    *VHA Forms, Publications, Manuals *_http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/_* *
    *VHA Programs – Clinical Programs & Initiatives
    *_http://webmaila.juno.com/webmail/new/UrlBlockedError.aspx_*> *
    *VHA Public Health Strategic Health Care Group Home Page http: //
    *_www.publichealth.va.gov/_ * *
    *VHI Guide to Gulf War Veterans ¬(tm) Health
    *_http://www1.va.gov/vhi_ind_study/gulfwar/istudy/index.asp_* *
    *Vocational Rehabilitation *_http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/_* *
    *Vocational Rehabilitation Subsistence
    *_http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/InterSubsistencefy04.doc_* *
    *VONAPP online *_http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp_* *
    *WARMS – 38 CFR Book C *_http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/bookc.html_* *
    *Wartime Disability Compensation
    *War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center – New Jersey
    *_http://www.wri.med.va.gov/_* *
    *Welcome to the GI Bill Web Site *_http://www.gibill.va.gov/ _

    *What VA Social Workers Do *_http://www1.va.gov/socialwork/page.cfm?pg=3_* *
    *WRIISC Patient Eligibility *_http://www.illegion.org/va1.html_* **
    *Print this out and save it in your VA files. There may be a time for
    use in the future. *

    *Bill Nelson 1^st Vice Commander, American Legion Post 55*

  8. Brenda Hayes February 17, 2011 at 11:46 am


    Widow has successful end to her 8 year fight with VA BVA..and finally COVA says…

    This report just recently came to me and I wanted to pass it on to the Veteran Community. As this site is not designed in a way where I could post it so you would know what the subject was.

    Mrs. Sheree Evans is the surviving spouse of Vietnam Veteran, Edward T. Evans, who passed away from Glioblastoma Multiforme (GM), or more commonly known as brain cancer, in March of 2003. Since this time, Sheree has fought for widow’s benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for her husband’s cause of death as a result of Agent Orange exposure (Board of Veterans’ Appeals, Docket No. 05-00 201 / U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Vet. App. No. 06-2190). While Mr. Evans was presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange during his service in the Vietnam War, one of the most challenging obstacles for Sheree was showing that his exposure to Agent Orange caused the development of brain cancer. VA had consistently maintained that brain cancer is not on their list of Agent Orange-related disabilities, and, as a result, that there is no medical link for the develo pment of this specific cancer to Agent Orange Exposure.

    Sheree’s long struggle against VA took her to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, the highest level of the Veterans Administration’s appeals process. Once she had been denied there, Sheree appealed her case to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. There she was successful in getting the final decision by VA vacated because VA had used an independent medical opinion as evidence, which was merely grounded in the lack of GM being on the Agent Orange Presumptive list as the basis for denying a relationship. VA then ordered another medical opinion which determined that there was no research into the relationship between GM and Agent Orange. Sheree countered with a medical assessment which argued that there was an abundance of research into the relationship between GM and Agent Orange. In a recent decision, th e Board of Veterans’ Appeals decided that the evidence in favor and against were in equal weight and applied the benefit of the doubt rule and on January 26th, 2011 granted Sheree’s claim. While this is not a precedential decision, VA did admit a link between the two. Time will tell what the outcome of this will amount to, but GM may very well come to be added to the Agent Orange presumptive list.

    According to Court documents, Sheree had fought for service connection for the cause of her husband’s death for almost eight years, based on a promise that she had made to him before his death. Sheree plans to write a book in honor of Edward that commemorates his life, his struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his combat experience in Vietnam that left him physically scarred from a shell fragment, and her fight to give him the recognition that he des erves. She is very active with the Order of the Silver Rose, an advocacy group for Veterans and families who have been affected by Agent Orange.

    GM is a highly aggressive form of brain cancer which, when left untreated, usually results in death in less than three months. GM has been widely researched and recent studies indicate that there is an increasing prevalence of brain cancers as a result of exposure to toxins (IOM, 2008). Though not specifically studied in Veterans of the Vietnam War, current research shows a causal relationship between herbicide exposure and GM.

    The fact is that there is an unusually high number of Vietnam Veterans who suffer from GM and, due to GM’s aggressive nature, a sizable percentage of them have passed on. Studies of the dioxin TCDD, the mai n dioxin in Agent Orange, in laboratory animals have shown to cause cancers at a variety of sites, including GM (IOM, 2008). These studies have concluded that it is plausible that human exposure to TCDD would cause the same variety of cancers as in laboratory animals. However, there has been a lack of studies on the relationship between Vietnam Veterans and exposure to TCDD. Therefore, the Institute of Medicine, which VA recognizes as the authority of recognizing a relationship between disabilities and Agent Orange, has not issued any reports linking Agent Orange and GM.

    *Institute of Medicine. (2008) Veterans and Agent Orange: health effects of herbicides used in Vietnam. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

    One of my questions is why are COVA cases NOT precedent. I’ve asked this question for years and have never received a logical answer. It seems to me that it is a waste of time, money, and energy for Veterans and family members to continually take the same type of cases to COVA. Our civilian Courts recognize decisions as Precedent; why not the VA?

    Large B cell Lymphoma was found in the brain of another Veteran who continually was told by the VAMC that it was his PTSD. Only when he was taken to a Community Emergency Room was his Lymphoma was diagnosed…by that time it was too late. This particular widown had an autopsy performed and had another one done on his brain and it concluded that this Lymphoma was due to A/O toxins exposure and she was able to get widow’s benefits.

    There have been many studies done on diseases of toxins and even other Countries who fought in Viet Nam have conceded more of these disorders/diseases than our own VA. Another wrong that continues to be needed to be right by the VA.

    Please pass on to other Veterans and family members.

    Vetwife Advocate

  9. Brenda Hayes February 9, 2011 at 11:45 am


    Way to go! Bravo! I’ll send you anything else I find on that here under this reply.



  10. brenda hayes February 8, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    February 8th, 2011 at 9:45 pm


    Quick query of http://www.ask.com and this came up (see below) If I find anything else I will place it here for you to see. I believe there is a House of Representative’s one as well. I saw it sometime last summer/fall.

    If you do check out the other sites; you will see how they are set up and how you can set it if you want to be notified by email that someone responded to yours or someone else’s particular post.

    I think, not sure, that http://www.veteransbenefits@ezboard.com has it so you can query the posts by name, date, etc. For instance, if I wanted to see what you posted last; I could query your name and it would bring it up.

    Sorry, not a IT person; I just can report what I have seen and used; hope it helps.

    I’m all for using volunteers who are extremely capable of doing what needs to be done for our Veterans and our Government. Didn’t know if there was a Freeze on yet because of the budget. I see that the archives suddenly appeared full with old GC.

    Thanks for your reply and doing what you do for our Veterans and family members.

    Still would like to see an article done on Recovery Coordinators in the VAMC system by whomever is over that program.

    I’ll be patient; what choice do I have!!

    Again, Thanks.

    Vetwife Advocate
    Tuesday, August 24, 2010Senate Military Family Caucus Created
    Last week Senators and co-chairs Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Richard Burr (R-S.C.), along with 18 of their colleagues, officially established the Senate Military Family Caucus. The caucus will work with the Congressional Military Family Caucus formed by the House last year to improve programs and services for military families as well as address the unique challenges that they face. Some issues to be focused on include childcare, education, employment, and the effects of multiple deployments on families. Already the members of the Senate Military Family Caucus have worked together to persuade Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to halt insurance companies from profiting from benefits owed to families that had a service member die in service.

    Other senators in the caucus include Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark


    • Alex Horton February 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

      Brenda, thanks for the leg work. I’ll let our legislative affairs people know to see if they can get comment from the members of the caucus.

      Also, we’ll get the new IT person to improve the archives whenever we get him or her. We had to manually enter the guest posts, but I’m sure there’s a more efficient way.

  11. Brenda Hayes February 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm


    Thanks for the reply. Check out http://www.hadit.com and the VAWATCHDOGTODAY site and veterbenefits@ezboard.com Series of subjects; some have a place where you can select to be notified if there is a new response to your or another subject post.

    I would think that Secretary Shinsecki would “strongly encourage” those Under Secretary’s to do a GC as US Pamperin. They also need to be part of the VA’s “new” two-way communication paradign shift.

    How goes the guest commentaries for Recovery Coordinators at the VAMCs; the new Senate/House Veterans/Family members Caucus. I’ll find the old post and repost it?

    Sometimes, it’s quite frustrating because there is no place to put a post w/o just placing it happenstance and then you run the risk it will not be seen and thus not answered by VP staff.

    Is it possible that you use volunteers? Students in IT at George Mason, Troy University, George Washington, American Universities. It would be a solution and they can do “whatever” from their homes. Again, I am sure there are a lot of IT savvy Veterans that would volunteer as well. I think the Government is not taking advantage of all these sources to make our funds go further. Doesn’t the White House encourage volunteers?


    Vetwife Advocate

    • Alex Horton February 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      Hey Brenda, not too familiar with those other sites (though I have visited hadit.com before), but I do follow Jim Strickland’s work over at VA Watchdog Today.

      Interesting idea about the volunteers, but I’m not sure how oversight on remote college students would work. What would you like the volunteers to do? We are bringing in a technologist to work full time on the blog and other projects.

      As for the family member’s caucus, I’m having a hard time finding what you’re talking about. Any links or sources you could furnish would be appreciated.

  12. Brenda Hayes February 3, 2011 at 11:57 am


    What happened to the old guest commentaries, etc.

    When are you putting them on the archives?

    When will the “future” blogs take place? Claims should have its own; caretakers, etc. Just my 3 cents!

    Is there anyway to improve the site so you don’t have to keep looking to see the new posts? There a way; other sites have it; I just am not anywhere near a IT person.

    Also, can you create a blog within to ask questions like this to the team so it does not get missed?

    Vetwife Advocate



    • Alex Horton February 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      Hey Brenda,

      Still working on bringing in a blog admin that will help with these types of issues. Federal hiring takes time, and we’ve been conducting interviews. Please be patient.

      The archives, both for the main writers and the guest posts, will be one of the first things he or she will work on.

      We’re working on launching another blog soon, and will let everyone know when it happens.

      Not sure what you mean by looking for new posts. We will also try to get an RSS feed soon.

      I don’t anticipate we will have a blog dedicated to just questions. It would be a good idea if we could corral, say, a benefits expert to monitor and reply to comments, or a GI Bill expert to do the same. We try to do that with individual posts about certain subjects, but it’s difficult to ask someone to do that out of their day. Deputy Undersecretary Pamperin set the bar pretty high.

      • brenda hayes February 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm


        Quick query of http://www.ask.com and this came up (see below) If I find anything else I will place it here for you to see. I believe there is a House of Representative’s one as well. I saw it sometime last summer/fall.

        If you do check out the other sites; you will see how they are set up and how you can set it if you want to be notified by email that someone responded to yours or someone else’s particular post.

        I think, not sure, that http://www.veteransbenefits@ezboard.com has it so you can query the posts by name, date, etc. For instance, if I wanted to see what you posted last; I could query your name and it would bring it up.

        Sorry, not a IT person; I just can report what I have seen and used; hope it helps.

        I’m all for using volunteers who are extremely capable of doing what needs to be done for our Veterans and our Government. Didn’t know if there was a Freeze on yet because of the budget. I see that the archives suddenly appeared full with old GC.

        Thanks for your reply and doing what you do for our Veterans and family members.

        Still would like to see an article done on Recovery Coordinators in the VAMC system by whomever is over that program.

        I’ll be patient; what choice do I have!!
        Tuesday, August 24, 2010Senate Military Family Caucus Created
        Last week Senators and co-chairs Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Richard Burr (R-S.C.), along with 18 of their colleagues, officially established the Senate Military Family Caucus. The caucus will work with the Congressional Military Family Caucus formed by the House last year to improve programs and services for military families as well as address the unique challenges that they face. Some issues to be focused on include childcare, education, employment, and the effects of multiple deployments on families. Already the members of the Senate Military Family Caucus have worked together to persuade Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to halt insurance companies from profiting from benefits owed to families that had a service member die in service.

        Other senators in the caucus include Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark

  13. Joe February 3, 2011 at 6:17 am

    It sickens me how these honorable vets are being treated. These men and women who serve and go in harms way deserve more. No one should be homeless! I cant even find a good paying job. Right now I’m taking care of my father who is a Vietnam Vet. Oh yeah I run him to all his appointments. I cant move to find a good job because he’s disabled. This country is a joke! A lot of vets are hurting rightnow. I can give you a list of jobs that I applied for and still cant find one. I feel bad for the vets out there because the way they are being ignored. Also their pay sucks when they serve, the food sucks, no proper protection, and get mistreated by their Officers. I just want to speak out for my brothers and sisters out there. It’s hard to hold back your tears for them.

    • Ernie Pyles February 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      Frankly, the pay DOESN’T suck, it’s a decent living. Anyone telling you otherwise is misguided, misinformed or dishonest. Some people “think” they should be getting paid a lot more, but at what point does that make one a mercenary and not someone who gave their all for a more noble cause? I served during during Vietnam, enlisted, and continued on for 29 years, enlisted and officer. I know how piss-poor the pay was in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but during that time we had the draft. When we went to the all volunteer structure in 1976 the pay and benefits, and lifestyles were improved dramatically. These days, to put it in common vernacular, “it ain’t bad.”

      Yes, it CAN be a tough life in some MOS’s, AFSC’s, but it IS volunteer. And lest you get me wrong, I served in combat MOS’s for most of my career. Some people think they can make more on the outside, civilian life, contractor, or what have you… and they’re the ones constantly harping about their lot in the military. But you’ll make more as a grunt on guard duty with your pay and benefits than you’d do as a Pinkerton Guard on the outside, for damn sure. It’s also like that with many military occupations. What’s gun-toter going to do on the “outside”? Be cop, a guard, or a merc. Okay, get the point. It’s time for a reality check herel society pays for what’s hot in supply and demand, and if you’re willing to change careers, adjust for fire, you’ll do okay. If not, you’re losing out by your own choice. Go to school, study something other than Oriental basket-weaving, or find a skilled trade. Every swingin’ Richard thinks they are cut out for college, and those liberal flakes will take your money in a New York second. They don’t guarantee you employment, hell…they don’t even guarantee you a quality education. Friend, there is work out there, but it’s what society is willing to pay for. You can dream, but you’ll not get paid for it.

    • Ernie Pyles February 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      I forgot one other thing. The food also DOESN’T suck, even the rations in the field are light years ahead of what “used to be”. And I fully know about that, having eaten my share of c-rats and LRPS. There are many choices, and the chow halls in Iraq and Afghanistan are great. Those who tell a different story are just lying through their teeth. Besides, with few exceptions, they eat better than a hell of a lot of folks back in the states, and I served in both theaters. What most troops really could use in this modern ages is exercise, because all that high calorie food is making some very phat asses out there, and you have only to see that in photo ops of our troops stateside and from the the REMFs. Most of the forward troops get all the exercise they need, humping a ruck in the field, but those in the rear with the gear are, frankly, lard asses. Now, when they come back to the states and process out, is there any wonder that they’ve got bone and joint complaints, aching backs, incipient diabetes, and a host of other complaints? Do yourself a favor and compare the entry level photos of WWII and Korean Vets to the fat boys and girls of today before you complain of bad food, okay? Because that’s a crock.

  14. jim February 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    “Street Vets” film released today..

    • Brenda Hayes February 2, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      Thanks, Jim

      Thanks for what you do for our homeless Veterans.

      Too many of them

      Vetwife Advocate

  15. FJ February 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    And another thing -> Alex Horton is a good writer!

  16. FJ February 2, 2011 at 10:14 am

    “VA benefit application process” is not the problem here.

    If they are out on the streets in DC, they have, sadly, pretty much chosen to be there (DC has enough ‘beds’). For the rich people, DC I heard can even come and ‘pick up’ the homeless (at your request – like stray dogs) if you call a special 311-type number.

    As for who’s an actual Vet, and this is a bugaboo of mine, although funny in the movie, phony homeless Vet Eddie Murphy (Trading Places) soliciting cash not so funny in real life. A simple “I served in Iraq. What unit were you with?” enough to figure out if he/she is a phony.

    And again, sadly, some Vets choose to be homeless – their military survival training serves them well there. Living in a Hummer or in a muddy ditch probably not much different than being out in the woods. Some women Vets choose homeless option rather than being in a ‘battered spouse’ household – they’re self-confident enough to just take their kids and leave, rather than stay behind and receive abuse. And they received the same survival training.

    • Julie February 4, 2011 at 3:59 am

      I am sorry FJ no one CHOOSES to be homeless, i know for a fact my partner doesnt, loosing a job and getting kicked out of a house and not being able to find any other sort of accommodation, because u havent got a job and your on a waiting list to receive benefits that take a million years in coming, and there is no one who wants to help immediately, oh yes theres always help, but not at that particular moment, everything has a time and place and you have to wait, and as a woman with children, i am definetly sure no woman CHOOSES to be homeless and not provide shelter for her children, its obviously your privilaged enough to never have to want for that your blessed but never say anyone chooses to be homeless thats a load of crock if i ever heard it.

    • Ernie Pyles February 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      I gotta agree with you, in part. I would like to know all those “vets” contacted during this survey, and find out just how many were ‘real vets’. There are tons of phonies out there who have never served, and many who were booted out on other than honorable discharges. Simply adding up the numbers without verification doesn’t cut it. Because they ‘state’ they are a vet is not proof, and handing them a card for services may seem generous, but they’ll get turned out at the door (one hopes) if they try to extort benefits. To add all those unverified “on the street homeless Vets” to the tally only lends credence to the claim that VA doesn’t take care of it’s troops. We need truth in advertising here.

      Another issue of concern in this modern age, is just how many soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are actually disabled. We have a problem in our society now where nearly every damned handicap sticker on a car has someone diddy-bopping out their door to pick up a 40 oz, with nary a shuffle. As for the DAV issue, damn near everyone who has served appears to carry the moniker disabled, and most here know that’s common. Some of you are truly disabled, and some of you need help. Frankly, most WWII and Korean Vets wouldn’t dream of glomming onto benefits as our generation has done. And face it, some of you were FUBAR before you came into the service. Furthermore, your current life experience may not have as much to do with your milieu in the military as you claim. Part of the problem with getting care through the VA is a result of the bloated numbers of people hanging onto the big red teat of the VA, thus clogging up the system. It hurts to say that, but many readers know that to be true.

      We need a system that works, but one that is justified and not another blind entitlement program.

  17. jim February 2, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Brandon: I think Alex has the bug. Its start real subtle, next thing you know, your “volunteering at a homeless shelter”. Then on a board,raising needed funding that VA does not adjust for in the “logistical plan” you then are starting feeding & clothing banks in ones city. Before long you come to reality check that the best miracles are dirty, they’re stinky and sticky,sweaty and at times uncouth gotta love a homeless vet. That the best miracles have rough edges, obtuse angles and misshapen noses…the best miracles come out of “action”, not thin air or sitting behind a media desk. Someone has to bring them about. I and my team of vets hae a few years under our belts in the streets, no VA does not pay us. And only picks our brains when they need a “white paper” idea. Thats ok, we understand, most were not infantry or combat arms, did not take the “oaths” very few accept the fact that the best way to “end” homeless in the “streets” begins AFTER 5pm to include weekends. We have come a long way these past two years with Gen Shinseki an his team. So consider the point -of-contact protocols from the vets who work the streets as shelter, and soup-kitchen areas: More VA ER Doctors to hit the streets, visit the recovery houses and GPD partners. Build outreach-intervention and mentors from your Dom’s and CWT programs. 3 out of ten vets is all one needs in this solution based structure. Its time to think and act like a “field medic” and not a mathematician if you want to bridge the gap of the eras and branches now around 107,000 homeless vets. the goal must always be to stop ‘chronic” homelessness. The goal must always be to bridge the illness/stress to wellness and aftercare as a team. The goal is always to be ready, to have a truthful answer and to stand by and advocate, too “gentle” the vet home not “break” a vet, to come home. The trust-zone is the street-advocates best weapon…it is a action based calling. ER docs must take command at VA of all outreach, intervention and mentorships structures if we are to increase success as witnessed these past two years. Start after 5pm and watch the successes grow. Daily standdown programs vis-a-vis once a year is also a project worth reviewing. vr j.

    Alex be care -ful, you could get addicted to the “calling’ of pounding the streets, looking under cardboard boxes or in city parks. We all love miracles, and a homeless vet is a potential in the making once you learn to keep your word,stand by them regardless of the smell, have a tube of coffee at the ready and just bond, its really that simple, not a whole lot more is needed except volunteers, medical students and ER trained MD’s,add some vets and hot coffee and the attraction to treatment is but a walk in the park from there. Good job Alex & Media team VA.

  18. William Fuzi February 2, 2011 at 12:36 am

    I will be on the streets on the first of March. I am a disabled homeless veteran who has been living with my mother. She has since been found unable to live at home, and has been moved to a retirement home.

    I have been waiting for two years for my VA claim to be worked out. I have a doctor, and a c&p doctor who both found me unemployable for PTSD. I also suffer from and have a diagnosis for Fibromyalgia which is covered under presumptive illness for Gulf War. I am currently treated for Chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, IBS, arthritis, and PTSD at the VA hospital. and have been since my discharge from the Marines in 1991 Oct. The VA has denied my claims for anything that can be tied to Gulf War Illness.

    Because of the VA I have lost my marrige, my children, my dignity, and worst of all my honor as a Marine. I suffer and they stall, hoping I will give up and go away. I did that for years untill my body wouldn’t allow me to anymore. After my wife asked me to leave because the state of Michigan told her it would be easier the give her assistance if she was separated/divorced. I slept in my car for 3 years. I suffered from Fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, and had explosive diareha while sleeping in the trunk of my car in below zero tempratures in Detroit Michigan. But because thoes conditions are tied to my service in the Gulf War they wouldn’t accept them as claims. All I recieved at that time was $210.00 a month to exist on. There fore I fell behind on my child support, lost my license, my passport, my dignity, and was now known as a deadbeat dad when before I was hailed as a war hero.

    The most important thing I lost was my children. I think about killing myself daily. But do you think I am going to tell my doctors? Hell no!!! I don’t want to loose any more in my life. There are times I think the VA wants me to just kill myself hoping to end my claims. Who knows when I finally loose my fear of going to hell, and the fear and wondering of what a bullet ripping through my brain would feel like they might get their wish. I have been seperated from my children for seven years now. I hope being away for so long will ease their pain when I finall decide to give up on life. I don’t get to see them anyway. last time I tried to visit my children I was arrested and put in jail for child support. So the state of Michigan won’t even allow me to see my children. I don’t have much left to live for. I just wanted some one to know there are things worse than death.

    • Alex Horton February 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm

      William, sorry to hear about your troubles. I’ve contacted the appropriate VA folks who will be able to help you out.

  19. Nosey Rosey February 1, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I too, would like to see Jennifer Gould’s question answered, “How many Vets have become homeless because of delays in the VA benefit application process?” While I do not have an answer, the intuitive answer would be, “More than last year, because there are more Veterans on the waiting list (claims benefit backlog) than there were last year”.

  20. Julie February 1, 2011 at 4:52 am

    My partner is a vet and he is now homeless because he lost his job and he cant find a new job, he couldnt pay the rent and was kicked out, i dont live in the states so i could only help him so much, but it would be nice if there was somewhere for these men who fought for their country and risked their lives could turn to instead of being ostracised and broken down like meaningless nothings, its a shame on the american government.

  21. Brenda Hayes February 1, 2011 at 12:42 am

    That was right on Jennifer!

    I’ve found too many Veterans in the woods around Richmond VA; I hear they are all over the surrounding counties; that’s where the Counters need to go; I’m thinking about doing it myself. I’ll go with a homeless Veteran known in specific woods; so I should be fairly safe. They are all along the James River areas.

    No one has a really close accurate account; like no one has a really good guestimate on the illegal immigrants. They are here by the millions!!

    There are no VAMC inpatient A/D programs at McGuire VAMC; only outpatient!! I don’t think a 5 person IP A/D program is quality; I would not want my Veteran in such a poor program.

    And, there are No transitional homes for them to be safe and secure during any outpatient treatment.

    How does the VAMC think the homeless are going to get to the Outpatient programs every day? No transportation. It a hit and miss with DAV transportation.

    Too much money going out for the private companies; one being VAN GO; I assume it’s Medicare paying out $65.00 or more to pick up and take the Vets to the VAMC..Saw a bunch one day! Had heartburn as a taxpayer!


    Put some Vets to work driving more DAV Vans!! Start them out like the stipend program!! The ones that have been through a quality A/D program; sober and enrolled in VAMC medical care

    Set up an empty floor of the VAMC with a bunkroom for the homeless.

    Solicit surrounding Churches, public buildings, for the homeless to be overnight at least.

    The State of Virginia has quite a few abandoned buildings that could be used. Ask the new Vet friendly Governor to use the building down at Central State in Petersburg, VA.

    Solicit the Service Agencies to sponsor a Building/Transitional Home either jointly or individually.

    You can’t have a single family house/apt for every Veteran; there has to be other solutions besides the Section 8 housing. All Section 8 housing for 1-2 bedrooms are not in the Best of town either; not conducive to sobriety and recovery.

    Would love to see a blog devoted to this problem and updates posted regular as to what is happening where those of us concerned with this problem could post suggestions, questions and maybe get some answers.

    Tom Pamperin should not be the only one in the hot seat!

    Man up Under Secretary Gould?


    Vetwife Advocate

    P.S. Should be back in Virginia in April; would love to talk about a Veteran/Family member Committee to serve as advocates to relay information to the Secretary!!

    The VA is no where near done with dealing with the old Vets with concern and justice; and the new ones that are on their heels coming up need strong advocates that are not afraid to speak up.

    Most States and Communities are not adequately serving their own disabled citizens; what makes the VA or any State Government think that their Vets will be served with quality programs and services?

    I’ve been doing this Disability dance with family members for a long time; not new to what is available and what quality is there? Too many purport to have what they don’t!

    Again, if you don’t have quality and accountability built into Programs you have nothing that serves the population at all; much less serve them well.

  22. Jennifer Gould January 31, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    In this interview, did you ask the question of how many became homeless while waiting for the determination of their benefits from the VA?

    • Alex Horton February 1, 2011 at 10:27 am

      I didn’t ask because it’s a loaded question, but I’m sure there are quite a few.

  23. Brenda Hayes January 31, 2011 at 11:43 pm


    I just lost a 20 minute post.

    Things like what happended to Luis do happen quite often, Alex.

    I have a Federal Record because of the arrogance and unaccoutability of those at Administration level of the VAMC (VA–VBA); too many injustices happen to Veterans/family members/caregivers quite frequently.

    Alex; how can you help at your level? Even with the smaller problem that I had– My Veteran and myself never received that phone call from that Vet Center. Did you let someone know at the Secretary’s level that there were no support groups for caregivers at the Vet Centers, the WPVAMC, and/or the PTSD Clinic at Port St. Lucie, FL?

    You can’t fix it; but those in charge should!!

    This is not unusual for those “out in the field”.

    It’s also been over a week that I put in a phone call to the PA at WP VAMC and still haven’t heard from anyone; or from Mr. Williams who is over the CBOCs for that matter; as well, I have not heard from anyone who was supposed to call from the WP VAMC eye clinic.

    You can’t get through to the Administrators WPB VAMCs Secretary/Assistant won’t give her email out so you can send him an email through her and she surely won’t give the Administrator’s email out either!! See the dysfunction? Where’s the two way communication, Alex? Has your pink cloud burst yet?

    There has to be some help at the Secretary’s level–an Ombudsman that answers directly to the General.

    I just loss a huge post; another Captcha and this time it did not keep the post. Not a happy camper tonight because of this. Please get your IT Dept to fix this.

    Luis’s situation is not surprising at all.

    The VA VHB and/or the VA Benefits don’t like people who “rock the boat”; they will turn on you in a minute; it is not JUSTICE and it is not the Mission of the VA VHB to treat, especially Veterans/family members/caregivers, in such an iappropriate manner.

    People don’t have the lifeblood to make this crap up; it happens as there is no oversite; no consequences and no accountability.

    Again, that’s why there needs to be an Ombudsman who reports directly to the Secretary; so he knows what is going on and can have someone with authority to look into these complaints –to have such oversite to make sure there are consequences and accountability. The IG’s office is not making it happen. And the PA office is a complete waste of time.


    Vetwife Advocate

  24. robin temple January 31, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    I’ve been homeless for fourteen months due to VA Malpractice…TWICE. I had PTSD and still do thanks to this horror. I lost the home I bought and remodeled…I’m lucky to be alive….for Now. I will Never Recover. I’m having surgery 11 tomorrow. After four years of suffering, my current home is a travel camper as small as a closet that I share with all my pets And my caretaker who is another homeless combat veteran. We Both were sexually assaulted by our bosses in the service.

    • Brenda Hayes February 1, 2011 at 12:01 am

      Find the UnderSecretary that is apparently in charge of this new upcoming Veteran Homeless program. A travel camper is “homeless”.

      IG look into this matter?

      Have you found anyone to listen and assist you at all?

      Where are you now? Does your VAMC have a Homeless Program for Women Vets?

      The more I hear; the more I feel sick to my stomach!! I’m sure there is not a small iota of sexism involved in getting you justice!!

      I feel so helpless because THERE IS NO OMBUDSMAN to assist you!

    • becky February 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

      I feel your pain; i been there. I was 19 and the only female in my unit. I was the first female who was ever in that field at the time. I herd everything sexual about a female and what she should be doing.etc….i was told that i needed to be home barefoot and pregnant, i was told get on my knees i’d make rank sooner. I refused and yes i was sexually abused and no one listend. All i ever herd was you know it never happend. So i lived with it and went on with my life. I met US Marines who told me to not take it anymore, to stand up for myself and when i did life got hard but in the end i felt good about myself. I never got on my knees for anyone. What i got i worked for and i am proud of myself. Females when i came in had it rough we paved the way for others now. We bore the price so they don’t have to endure what we did. Be safe in the trailer and take care.

  25. William Eldrich January 31, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Kinda funny how corruption worms it’s way up.

  26. keoni delacruz January 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I was discharged from the Army in 2004 with a diagnosis of Seizure disorder. At the time that I was discharged the Army gave me a severance pay and told me the VA would raise my disability. I went to VA and was rated at 20%. I also have to pay back the severance pay which leaves me only 124 dollars a month. I worked ods and end jobs but because of my disability being unpredictable It is hard for me to keep a job. I was diagnosed with seizure disorder in 2007 and High blood pressure. The VA comp and pension people continue to state that I have no evidence of PTSD even though it is in my VA records and I have given them my DD 214 from Desert Storm. I served 13 years total with a combination of ational Guard and Active Duty time. If I did not have friends to help me I would be another statistic of homeless here in Hawaii. When will these raters wake up and help us vets?

    • Moritz January 31, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      Keoni, they caught me up in that severance payback scheme, so I feel for you.

    • Ernie Pyles February 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Relevant to the idea of claims, is that the VA has to determine whether your medical issue is related to your time in the service, or was it a pre-existing condition. And you know what else? Many of you know damn well it occurred before your service, and you skated by your entry physical anyway. Asthma, seizures, bad back, you name it, it now has “flared up” or became evident…but clearly at your convenience. I think there’s a lot more to the story, as Paul Harvey would say.

      Why are women 3 x more likely to suffer PTSD than men? That’s a rhetorical question, but it supports the principle that women shouldn’t be in the combat zone. Yes, I know that will piss of all you PC types, because so many got a testosterone surge while watching G.I. Jane. But, until America decides how it wants to fight and win wars, we’re going to have to deal with this current fraternity and sorority mentality. If we had to fight WWII with this same policy, we’d all be speaking German.

      PTSD, what an overused diagnosis. Hell, some people get PTSD just from eatin’ in the freakin’ chow hall. WTF is with that? I’ve been to enough PTSD meetings myself to realize that some in attendance are just sucking for benefits and never spent day one in the shit. They’re typically the ones who have little to say, not because they’re mortified…but because they don’t have any relevant issues to address. They’ve afraid their fiction will catch up with them. VA can’t really intercept them, they blindly ASSume they are all valid. What a shame.

      And BTW, I’m telling it as I see it, because I’m still entitled to “wear a pair.” I didn’t lose those in the war.

  27. Brenda Hayes January 31, 2011 at 9:40 pm


    Would you please get someone from the newly created office below or your stafff to do a commentary on this new position and what it is supposed to do.


    Brenda Hayes
    Vetwife Advocate

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is creating a new office to develop personal, patient-centered models of care for veterans who receive health care services at more than 1,000 VA points of care across the nation. The new VA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation began operations on Jan. 17 and is based in Arlington, Va. The VA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation will have four regional implementation teams at select VA medical centers across the country: Birmingham, Ala; East Orange, N.J.; Dallas; and Los Angeles.

    • Alex Horton January 31, 2011 at 11:19 pm


      Sure, I’ll look into it. Might be interesting.

      • Brenda Hayes January 31, 2011 at 11:53 pm


        Go to bed!! We both have insomnia and you are too young for it!! I forgot you’re a Vet!! You have to be up bright and early to help the Secretary to help his Vets!!

        I love your writing, your energy, your willingness to help–your caring–if only we could only clone you!!

        I send you white light with many Blessings for you and your mission!!


        P.S. Please make IT make better clearer captcha codes. It’s not an eye Test!!

      • Brenda Hayes February 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm


        What ever happened to you checking with the newly created House/Senate Veterans/Family member Caucus to do a commentary; heard anything as of yet?

        I also had asked about you getting someone in Leadership to do a guest commentary on the VAMC’s Recovery Coordinator programs that were “highly suggested” instead of being made mandatory.

        Some VAMCs have decided they weren’t necessary and have not put them in place; and, apparently,those that have seem noto to have little or no oversite; thus no accountability as well.

        I know that West Palm VAMC has none; they “…decided to do this under their PA office!” That’s not even close to what the RC Program is supposed to do for Vets and their caregivers/spouses, etc.

        Also, another guest commentary which would be great would be one done by DCOE as well as someone from the office of Caregiver.va.gov.

        I was given the following this morning and will check them out; but I am finding that there is nothing in place with the VAMCs and/or Vet Centers; and no support groups for spouses, significant others and/or family members.

        “….The National Caregiver Support Line will be open Monday through Friday
        8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern
        Time. The National Caregiver Support Line Toll-Free number is
        1-855-260-3274.Please also see VA’s updated caregiver website:
        http://www.caregiver.va.gov which has information on benefits, programs and the….”

        As I have repeatedly stated, our VN Vets (as well as countless other Gulf War and stateside Veterans) have been exposed to toxins as well as dealing with the organicity of PTSD; and they are having problems with memory and cognitive issues.

        And, as I have repeatedly stated, I have NOT found a VA program to assist the Veterans and their caregivers in dealing with this primary and secondary SC disability.

        It’s not easy being “green”; and it is not EASY being a caregiver to a Veteran with multiple disabilities such as PTSD as well as neurotoxin damage to the Central Nervous System, which of course, includes the Brain.

        For that matter, as well; the outside Community resources that the VA and State Veterans Departments are counting on for assistance with our Vets and family members do not exist, either in actuality; or if they are purported to be, most are lacking in quality; and I am finding there is no conduit in place to relay this information.

        Recently, I have also found that the CBOC Clinics (in FL) as well various professional employees of the two different VAMCs are not familiar with the VA internal resources for such Memory/Cognitive disorders; much less appropriate community resources.

        It is a Information and Referral Merry-Go-Round, as usual.


        Vetwife Advocate

  28. Luis A. Guzman January 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I am a disabled veteran and was working for the Administration of Veterans Affairs in the capacity of Program Support for the nursing service at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. As a program support part of my duties were to performed time keeping for a group of nurses as such I got to learn these nurses characters and habits when it came to their time cards; Everything changed when I was faced with a particular nurse that for some reason forgot to let me w that she had work on the eve of the fourth of July and into the Holiday for a total of twelve hours, I found this strange because this nurse was always so careful with her wages (This nurse would call me several times to confirm the hours worked, leave me notes on my desk of any changes and on the Friday that time cards were signed and submitted to payroll, this nurse again would call to go over her hours) so you see when she said that she had forgotten the twelve hours shift I found it suspicious for it was out of character. I brought to my supervisor’s attention and the answer was that the NOD at that time was vouching for the shift, I kept asking questions to the NOD and looked at the shifts’ log for that particular day and found out that at first there was never a request for a shift for that day and furthermore, when the shift appeared on the log it was pencil in on the log. I refused to process the shift so all of the sudden my supervisor started to write me up for bogus errors until the nursing service accused me of lying on the federal application and provided an evaluation of a work/study program when there were no such evaluations because I was not an employee of this particular agency, them=n I was suspended with pay and had a meeting with the director at which I explained everything to him and about month or two later the director removed me illegally for the agency. I have a pending case with the Merit System Protection Board for reinstatement and transfer from the facility. Until this action my record of employment was spotless and I even had a commendation letter from my previous employment at Bolling AFB in Washington, DC as a civil service employee for the USAF.
    Due to this action I became homeless, funny that the agency created to help and protect disabled veterans created by Congress did the complete opposite and not only violated my rights but it also created the homelessness of a handicapped veteran.

    • Alex Horton January 31, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      Luis, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds terrible. Do you mind if I forward your comment on to see if we can help in any way?

    • Moritz January 31, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      Luis, I had a similar job as you in Denver. I suffered some setbacks from my PTSD and was forced to resign so they didn’t have to deal with me being out. They said my health conditions were a problem because I worked in a hospital where they need “sane” people.

      • Brenda Hayes January 31, 2011 at 11:46 pm

        That’s an ADA issue and the problem is there is no teeth in the ADA and the Justice Dept will only do systemic issues of discrimination.

        There are no really 100% pure bloodlines and more likely than no 100% “Sane” human beings!

    • Jalica February 1, 2011 at 5:00 am

      Did you ever wonder what makes us human! It’s the kindness that transfers from another, the smile one can find from one another, and the will to exist!

      When you are beaten down, only those who have been there can reason with the pain of separation, and the agony of defeat! I stood up against a syndicate of Men who would do anything to protect their status!

      Homelessness is also what one carries with them when they have been taken to the bottomless pit of society! I know it, try to let go of it. It comes back because we live among so many who have little thought of life. Who preserve what they feel is right and Congress does not even relate!

    • becky February 1, 2011 at 11:11 am

      I am sorry for what they did to you. I am a Nurse and a Vet as well. I know how it works when you have Nurses whom are friends and cover for each other. I know the crap they pull. I work for a company now that is good to me and is letting me establish my own program to help Vets with homecare/homehealth/skilled nursing. I wish i could help i know that if you call the Legion or VFW they can help or at least know who you can call. I am disabled due to a helo acdcident that’s neither here nor there, I jus tthank God every day i can walk and i am alive. I wish i could help each and every Vet. My goal is to buy land and a bunch in NC and open up an area for Vets to live and only Vets. It will take time but one day you will see it posted somewhere and know i am giving back to my fellow Vets. God bless us all.

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