May 7, 2012

Caring for our Nation’s Veterans

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According to the Department of Labor, the unemployment rate of young male veterans returning from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars is at a startling 29 percent.  With statistics like this, it is crucial that we do everything we can to ensure we connect our veterans with jobs and decent, affordable housing.

In a recent Washington Post Op-ed, co-chairs of the Robin Hood Foundation veterans’ advisory board, Admiral Mike Mullen and Steven Cohen discuss the urgency of supporting our troops as they return home.

Without proper support, it is little wonder some vets have trouble finding or holding down jobs. When they are unable to find work, they can also lose their homes.  Twenty percent of New Yorkers sleeping on the streets are veterans, according to the city’s Department of Homeless Services.  Many of these men and women fought for us in the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq.  It is unacceptable that they are now homeless.”

Today, Secretary Donovan joined Admiral Mullen and other panelists at the Robin Hood Veterans Summit to focus on the barriers and opportunities facing our nation’s veterans.  Moderated by Tom Brokaw, today’s panel discussed solutions and approaches that have led to housing, jobs and stability for returning vets.

In collaboration with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), HUD has combined the Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance with VA’s case management and clinical services also known as HUD-VASH.  Thanks in part to Senator Patty Murray, HUD-VASH has now housed nearly 30,000 veterans.  He also laid out the first Federal strategic plan to end homelessness which commits us to end veterans and chronic homelessness by 2015.

The progress we’ve made so far is just the beginning.  That is why support from organizations such as Robin Hood is the key to our success.  Organizations such as Robin Hood are on the ground carrying out the work and fighting for the men and women who have fought for us.

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