Military Connection: Veteran Homelessness Down: By Debbie Gregory

Veterans helping veteransThe U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as well as the U.S. Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (USICH) recently issued a new national estimate of Veteran homelessness. Using data collected during the annual Point-in-Time Count, conducted in January, 2014, revealed that there were 49,933 homeless Veterans in America. This year’s number shows a 33% decline since 2010, when there were 74,770 Veterans reportedly living on the streets.

The VA, HUD, and USICH, as well as other local partners, have used evidenced-based practices like Housing First and federal resources such as HUD-VASH (the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program) to find stable housing for Homeless Veterans. Since 2008, the HUD-VASH program has assisted 74,019 homeless Veterans, and Veteran families who were in danger of becoming homeless.

The federal government has provided significant new resources to help communities pursue the goal of ending homelessness among Veterans. Strategically targeting these resources is resulting in communities making significant progress towards ending Veteran homelessness.

The federal government has created a goal to end Veteran homelessness by 2015. There are several policies and programs that are currently geared towards reaching the goal.

Using a Housing First approach and eliminating unnecessary prerequisites, the federal government has made progress in removing barriers and helping Veterans obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible. The government’s programs have found success through prioritizing the most vulnerable Veterans, especially Veterans experiencing chronic homelessness, for permanent supportive housing opportunities.

The utilization of rehousing interventions, including those made possible through the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, has aided Veterans who need short-term assistance to reintegrate back into our communities.

Government programs have also found success by increasing early detection efforts, and providing Veterans with greater access to preventive services. They have also been leveraging other housing resources that can help Veterans who are ineligible for some of the VA’s programs get into stable housing.

By closely monitoring their progress, and remaining committed to their goal, it is reasonable to believe that Veteran Homelessness could be eradicated in 2015. But it can only happen through continued government efforts and the support of the American people.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Veteran Homelessness Down: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Better Way to Research GI Bill: By Debbie Gregory

GI Bill Comparison Tool upgradeOn Thursday August 28, 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the launch of an upgraded version of the GI Bill® Comparison Tool.

Since its initial release in February if this year, the GI Bill Comparison Tool has been making it easier for Veterans, service members, and military dependents to estimate their GI Bill education benefits and learn more about their prospective school. The tool has provided key information about the school and its tuition prices, as well as data on graduation&amp, borrowing rates for individual colleges and universities. The information provided by the GI Bill Comparison Tool helps Veterans choose the best education program to meet their needs and available benefit.

The VA estimates that over the past 6 months nearly 350,000 people have utilized the tool on VA’s GI Bill website.

The upgraded version of the GI Bill Comparison Tool provides the same wealth of information, but with added data. Along with the information already provided by the original tool, the new version is equipped with a more comprehensive benefits calculator.

The new GI Bill Comparison Tool now offers Veterans the ability to click on an option that says, “How much am I going to get?” after typing in their eligibility information and the name of their school of interest. This new option offers a complete breakdown of cost. It shows how much your education benefit will pay you per month (specific to the school’s zip code), how much book stipend a student can expect to receive, and the total of what is “paid to you” for the year.

The new option goes even further by calculating the school’s tuition &amp, fees cost and comparing the cost against your benefit, ultimately providing Veterans with the “out of pocket cost” that they would have to pay, if they attended the school with their benefit.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay the entire tuition cost of a state school’s in-state tuition, or up to $20,235. Once that tuition cost is exceeded at a private college or out-of-state school, the rest of the tuition comes out of the Veteran student’s pocket. Knowing the information that the upgraded GI Bill Comparison Tool provides could save individual Veteran college students thousands of dollars each year.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Better Way to Research GI Bill: By Debbie Gregory