See also: In The Military
VA grants available
to help homeless
Question: I am interested in obtaining a grant for working with homeless veterans. Does the Department of Veterans Affairs provide such grants?
Answer: Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony J. Principi recently announced that for the first time in its history the VA is providing grants to organizations that care for homeless veterans. Three years ago VA supported 43 homeless programs that provided about 1,250 transitional housing beds in 24 states. Today the VA is providing grants to every state and the District of Columbia, supporting 8,200 beds operated by more than 250 programs.
In the past nine years, VA's Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program has awarded more than 300 grants totaling about $75 million to public and nonprofit groups to establish transitional housing and service centers and to purchase vans for transportation to services and employment for homeless veterans. VA expects to provide grants supporting 10,000 transitional housing beds by 2006.
The purpose of the program is to promote the development and provision of supportive housing and/or supportive services with the goal of helping homeless veterans achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels and or income, and obtain greater self-determination. Only programs with supportive housing (up to 24 months) or service centers (offering services such as case management, education, crisis intervention, and counseling) are eligible for these funds.
More information on Grant and Per Diem Programs, and how to obtain one can be found at www.va.gov/homeless. For more information on homeless programs at the VA, call 433-0600.
Q: Does the VA provide a monthly payment to Medal of Honor recipients?
A: Since at least World War I, the federal government has paid a monthly stipend to holders of the military's highest decoration for combat valor. The monthly federal payments to 136 living recipients of the Medal of Honor are rising 67 percent this month from $600 monthly to $1,000 monthly.
The increase was authorized by the Veterans Benefits Act of 2002, which also set up a formula for future increases in the Medal of Honor stipend based on the annual rate of inflation. The new law also provides for a retroactive payment of stipends to cover the period between the act of valor and the awarding of the Medal of Honor.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran,
call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049
or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.
Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin,
can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.