HILL COUNTRY VETERANS COUNCIL

1700 Sidney Baker, Suite 100

Kerrville, Texas 78028

830-896-1157          Fax 830-896-1175

www.hcvc.org

Walter Schellhase,
President 
Board Members    
Bennie Hyde, Vice President 
Alan Hill
Jack Ledford
Jud Ashmore
Gary Noller
Sam Barker
Connie Smith
Bill Bacon, Past President and Founder Dan Bacon
Gene Ritchie
Joe Benham
Bob Waller
Gene Higgins

* Ed Jackson

   

 

18 January 2011

The Honorable Lamar Smith
United States House of Representative
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Smith:

 During our recent meeting at the KROC center here in Kerrville we discussed General Shinseki’s proposed Transitional Housing for the Homeless Veteran, which failed to win support from the 18,600-plus veterans in the catchment area or local community support.  The contractor withdrew his bid due to that lack of support.

At that time you were given an outline of a homeless shelter program that would gain widespread local and veterans support.  Since then, as promised, the Hill Country Veterans Council has prepared a formal proposal for such a facility.  Veterans in this area now seek your strong support for this proposal, for Kerrville and nationwide.

The HCVC will seek support from community leaders, veterans organizations, the news media, officials at  all levels of government, and especially our Department of Veterans Affairs.

It is undeniable that there is a need for Transitional Housing for Homeless Veterans providing the mental and physical care, not merely a roof over their heads.  This proposal provides that need.

Therefore, we urge you to make this one of your 2011 priorities and seek support from all of your colleagues. We owe it to all of our veterans in need.

Sincerely,

Walter Schellhase

USA-BG (ret)

President, Hill Country Veterans Council


HILL COUNTRY VETERANS COUNCIL

1700 Sidney Baker, Suite 100

Kerrville, Texas 78028

830-896-1157          Fax 830-896-1175

www.hcvc.org   

 
Walter Schellhase,
President 
Board Members    
Bennie Hyde, Vice President 
Alan Hill
Jack Ledford
Jud Ashmore
Gary Noller
Sam Barker
Connie Smith
Bill Bacon, Past President and Founder Dan Bacon
Gene Ritchie
Joe Benham
Bob Waller
Gene Higgins

* Ed Jackson

   

18 January 2011

The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki

Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs

Washington, DC 20420

Dear Secretary Shinseki:

The Transitional Housing for the Homeless Veteran, recently proposed for the Kerrville VA facilities failed to win support from the 18,600-plus veterans in the catchment area or local community support.  This failure was due to the lack of being a program that provided medical or physical treatment for the homeless veteran. 

It is undeniable that there is a need for Transitional Housing for Homeless Veterans providing the mental and physical care, not merely a roof over their heads.  Therefore, The Hill Country Veterans Council has prepared a formal proposal for such a facility.  This proposal provides that need.

Veterans in this area now seek your strong support for this proposal, for Kerrville and nationwide.  We believe such a homeless shelter program that would gain widespread local and veterans support.

The HCVC will seek support from community leaders, veterans organizations, the news media, officials at  all levels of government, and especially our Department of Veterans Affairs.

Therefore, we urge you to modify your Transitional Housing for Homeless Veterans to include our proposal, making medical and physical healthcare, one of your 2011 priorities and seek support from all of your colleagues. We owe it to all of our veterans in need.

 Sincerely,

Walter Schellhase
USA-BG (ret)
President, Hill Country Veterans Council


HCVC’S PROPOSED  PROGRAM

For  TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FOR HOMELESS VETERANS

 By

Hill Country Veterans Council

1700 Sidney Baker Street

Kerrville, Texas 78028

PROPOSED PROGRAM

For

TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FOR HOMELESS VETERANS

 INDEX

A.        INTRODUCTION

B.        HOUSING

1.               Facilities

2.               Occupant

3.               Medical Support

4.               Location

C.        REHABILITATION

1.               Medical Evaluation

2.               Treatment Required

3.               Training Require

D.        COMPENSATION

1.               DOD

2.               VA

3.               Discharge Date

4.               Veterans Option

 

E.        SUMMARY

 HCVC’S PROPOSED PROGRAM FOR

TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FOR HOMELESS VETERANS

A. INTRODUCTION

Gen. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, announced a program in late 2009 called Transitional Housing for Homeless Veterans, to be managed and operated by for profit independent contractors with HUD providing much of the funding.  However, there is nothing in the program for treating the causes  that lead to homelessness.  Although facilities would be located on VA property, the VA has little or no say in the program.

Therefore, the Hill Country Veterans Council (HCVC) strongly recommended this alternate program:

All transitional housing would be on VA property; in Kerrville, this facility would be at the VA Hospital.   The HCVC sees it as imperative that facilities be for veterans only, owned and operated by the VA.  Treatment, medical evaluation, rehabilitation, and training are essential elements of the program.

B.  HOUSING

1.      Facility:

VA managed, operated, and supported.  The VA is the only support center for such problems of homeless veterans as PTSD, alcohol & substance abuse and training that can be provided for spouse and children where feasible. 

2.      Occupancy:

a.      PL 100-77: Sec. 11302, the “McKinney Act,” provides the federal definition of homeless.  All occupants in this Proposed Program should meet these standards.

b.      Family Living could be providing where wife and children are allowed.  Such arrangements require increased financial support from the local community.

c.      Unaccompanied Living would be more appropriate, allowing the veteran to give full devotion to recovery.

3.       Medical Support:
Kerrville VA Hospital provides most of the medical support required, as do most VA Hospitals.  Those services not available should be added.
4.      Location:
      The Kerrville VA, like most VA Hospitals, has adequate land, utilities, etc.
 

C.  REHABILITATION

1.   Every prospective occupant should have or receive a complete medical evaluation before entering this program.

2.   Specific treatment should be developed for each veteran in the Transitional Housing facility, including: physical & mental health, PTSD, drug & alcohol abuse, etc.

3.   The program should include job & skill training, communication skills, resume writing, social interaction, financial and budget planning, anger management, marital and parenting skills.

D.   COMPENSATION

            1. DOD

a.      Veterans are most likely to become homeless during the 6-24 months from the time DOD releases a veteran from active duty until the VA picks that veteran up for disability pay and medical care.  This must be corrected.

b.      Every veteran should have a complete mental & physical exam prior to being released from active duty.

c.       The veteran should be retained on active duty medical leave with full pay and allowances until evaluated by the VA.

d.      A veteran showing signs of PTSD or alcohol and drug tendency should not be released from active duty until a rehabilitation program has been developed.

2.  VA

     a.   A veteran who is evaluated and found unemployable should be rated

100% unemployable and given appropriate VA compensation and full benefits.

b.      On completion of rehab, all veterans should be reevaluated to determine if they are employable.

  If so, they should be given a reasonable amount of time to find gainful employment, then taken off

  100% unemployment compensation and awarded appropriate VA benefits and compensation.

3.    Discharge Date

A veteran should be eligible for this program regardless of date of discharge, since PTDS and other problems are known to emerge years after the individual leave active service.

4.    Veterans Option

A veteran opting out of rehab or failing to satisfactorily complete the program should be dropped from temporary 100% compensation.  The veteran may then apply through regular channels for evaluation for normal VA benefits and compensation.

E.  SUMMARY
  1. Kerrville VA should be considered for a pilot program for a transitional housing.
  2.  There should be no leases, but occupancy as long as required for proper treatment.

        3.  Occupancy should be exclusively by veterans.

        4. Facilities should be on VA property, operated by the VA in existing facilities or new construction.

        5. Mental and physical treatment should be provided.

        6.  The gap between release from active duty and pick-up by VA must be eliminated, for  the veteran to have financial and medical assistance during transition.

 

 

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