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FRA sponsors a new survey each quarter, asking current and former enlisted members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard to share their views and concerns. These matters are consistently addressed in FRA’s congressional testimony, correspondence with key legislators and military leaders, and in one-on-one meetings with lawmakers and their staff. All current and former service members are invited to participate in FRA’s current financial literacy quiz at www.fra.org/survey.

• The VA will extend health care to eligible veterans in halfway houses and other temporary, post-incarceration housing under a new program aimed at cutting back on repeat offenses.

“There’s hard evidence that lack of access to health care, including mental health care, for newly released inmates is a factor in people becoming homeless or returning to prison and jail,” said Jim McGuire, director of VA’s Veterans Justice Outreach Programs. “These are veterans who otherwise qualify for VA health care.”

A long-standing rule has barred VA from providing health care to veterans for whom another federal, state or local government has an obligation to provide health care. Frequently, that means inmates of prisons and jails.

Under the changed rule, that prohibition would be amended and VA would be allowed to provide health care to veterans in halfway houses and other temporary, post-incarceration housing.

An Urban Institute study in 2008 found that good health care in the first months of community re-entry played a key role in easing readjustment and reducing recidivism.

About 29,000 to 56,000 veterans are released annually from state and federal prisons, and at least 90,000 veterans are released each year from city and county jails, according to Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service on Tuesday announced the availability of $600,000 in “Stand Down” grants that will provide an estimated 10,000 homeless veterans with opportunities to reintegrate into society. The grants are being awarded under the department’s Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program.

“Stand Down events across the country will reach thousands of homeless veterans — including homeless female veterans — with opportunities to re-enter America’s workforce,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, who is also chair of the Interagency Council on Homelessness. “Through these grants, the federal government will engage states and local communities as active partners in readying those who have served our nation for civilian jobs.”

Stand Down is a military term referring to a brief respite from combat.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.