Benishek: “It’s Critical The Government Supports Struggling Veterans”

Oct 12, 2011 Issues: Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC:  Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) today commended the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for their upcoming outreach efforts this month on services available to homeless veterans in America. 

“There are several government programs and services aimed at helping this nation’s veterans who are experiencing the scourge of homelessness.  I am hopeful this initiative will help raise awareness of the assistance available to these individuals,” said Benishek, a general surgeon who worked at the VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain.    

Benishek stated that after touring the Mercy Primary Care Center (MPCC) in Detroit that is used by homeless veterans seeking refuge, he and Rep. Hansen Clarke (MI-13) recently penned a letter to the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs requesting the VA Department establish a liaison between the Mercy Primary Care Center and the Detroit VA Regional Office to better coordinate services to veterans.                             

“Some of the people who utilize MPCC’s services are homeless veterans looking for shelter, or access to veterans’ benefits and resources…we would like to request that the Detroit VA Regional Office reach out to MPCC and establish a point of contact that MPCC can call to request help for veterans in need of DVA services,” stated Benishek and Clarke in their joint letter to the VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Benishek explained that according to the VA, on any given night, 75,600 veterans in America are homeless and “an estimated 149,635 veterans spent at least a single night in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program over the course of the year.” As part of this outreach initiative, the VA will be highlighting 21 different programs aimed at assisting homeless and at-risk veterans in this country. 

The VA has a National Call Center for Homeless Veterans that provides homeless veterans or those at-risk for homelessness with a 24-hour-a-day access to trained responders. To contact the center individuals may call 1-877-424-3838 or visit the VA’s Homeless Veterans website, www.va.gov/homeless

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To see a listing of VA programs for homeless veterans, click here.

To see the letter by Rep. Benishek and Rep. Clarke to the Secretary of the VA, click here.