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Mr. Brown, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and the nation’s highest-ranking elected official to have served a tour of duty in Iraq, leads the O’Malley-Brown administration’s efforts to provide veterans with better services and resources. Since taking office in 2007, Mr. Brown has championed successful efforts to pass the Veterans Behavioral Health Act, protect veterans’ business loans programs and fully fund the Iraq and Afghanistan Scholarship Program.

Last year, he launched the Mil2FedsJobs Web portal, located on the Maryland Workforce Exchange (, the first of its kind in any state to directly match transitioning service members with careers in the federal government.

• I am looking forward to joining VA Medical Center Director Brian Hawkins and his staff at the upcoming grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Community Resource & Referral Center (CRRC), located on 1500 Franklin St. NE in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 9. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a brief reception and tours of the facility.

The new CRRC is the first of its kind in the metropolitan D.C. area. It will serve as a community hub to avert and combat homelessness among veterans. The CRRC will play a crucial role in helping the VA reach its goal of ending homelessness among veterans by the year 2015. It’s primary mission is to link veterans and families to resources aimed at exiting homelessness and promoting community reintegration.

The VA is supported by many federal agencies and community organizations in its effort to provide services to homeless veterans. The CRRC will centrally locate staff members from HUD-VASH, Healthcare for Homeless Veterans, Veterans Benefits Administration, as well as vocational rehabilitation specialists and case managers. It will be open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to provide veterans with access to primary care, mental health, case management, housing and employment assistance, and benefit information.

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 email