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The State of Homeless Veterans In Massachusetts

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With so much in the news recently on veteran homelessness, we reached out to the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services. Secretary Coleman Nee is guest blogging for us this week, giving his thoughts on how to tackle this growing problem. 

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) found that veterans account for 12% of the homeless population in Massachusetts.  The men and women who have served our country so bravely deserve the opportunity to gain permanent housing and self-sufficiency, and the Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to partnering with community-based organizations to address the issue of homelessness among veterans.

The Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) is collaborating with the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development  on an approach that calls for not only housing, but utilizing existing opportunities for employment, training, education, health care and other benefits our veterans and their families have earned

In 2007, the Patrick-Murray Administration reinstated the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (ICHH) and has dedicated significant attention to addressing the needs of homeless veterans through a veteran-specific subcommittee.  We have worked with our partners to align the network of state, regional, and local homeless providers; allowing a seamless transition for homeless veterans to immediate services and long-term housing. 

Ending veteran homelessness is a top priority for DVS. Going forward, we will continue to work with our existing partners and expand our collaborations with additional resources and housing programs to address the specific needs of veterans. Strengthening our outreach efforts to vulnerable and at-risk populations and aligning our goals with that of the VA and regional providers, we will all work together to ensure a more fulfilling and productive life for those that have served us.

For more information on veterans’ housing, programs and services visit www.mass.gov/veterans or call (617) 210 5480.

Coleman Nee, Secretary
Department of Veterans’ Services

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1 Comment

  1. John G. Vandal says:

    Mr. Nee,
    I was almost a statistic of being homeless. My wife of 18 years divorced me about the same time,I retired from the Navy. I not only lost my job but my marriage too. I had no place to go. I started looking for jobs about a year out from retirement. USA Jobs is a great way to “see” what jobs are available in the government. I say see because I have applied to as many as 25 to 30 jobs there. Since, I have training and certificates in Occupational Safety and Health/ HAZMAT fields, I tried there. It is very depressing when you get overlooked due to a piece of paper that says you spent a lot of money for school. I have the experience but I did not get the opportunity to finish my degree. However, I digress.
    If not for my family and friends financially supporting me, I would be on the streets. Since, I only get a quarter of my retirement due to my x wife getting her 47% and a garnishment for child support, you can’t live on $500.00 a month. I went to the employment office for help. They are not “any” help either. I could not receive unemployment because of my retirement check. See, it is the gross and not the take home pay they look at. (That is another story.)
    I have since then gone back to school. I attend night school at Bristol Community College. I go nights so I can apply to jobs and go to job interviews. I receive the 9/11 bill for school. I have also been rated 90% disabled by the VA. The three incomes are keeping me off the streets. However, I would love to find a good job. I have been looking into the VA for positions in their organization. I have applied for VSO positions that have opened up and positions in the VA in Providence, RI. All the results are the same. It is all about a piece of paper, even though all you would be doing is entering data and doing research for VA claims. My job as Safety Specialist in the Navy was harder than that, yet here I am with no job.
    I understand why my fellow vets are homeless. Like myself, I struggle to get a decent job to support myself. I know that the VSO’s have ways to help vets into housing. My VSO almost put me in temporary housing. To me, that is not the problem. Help them get a decent job so they can get on their feet. Only then, they will be off the streets.

    v/r
    John G. Vandal
    AM1(AW) US Navy (Ret)
    Email: jgvandal@aol.com

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