SGT. SHAFT: Veteran wants to add new wife to TRICARE For Life health care

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Major Shepard: “Definitely. Right now, our case managers, that are handing our applicants, are handling between 500 to 700 service members. […] If we reduce that number down to 200 to 250, maybe even less than that, we would be much more efficient, as far as placing folks and getting people into jobs.”

After the announcement, Mr. Takano, California Democrat, said, “For the last year, the Work for Warriors program has proven to be incredibly effective in putting members of the California National Guard back to work. I’m pleased to see the Department of Defense recognize its efficacy and provide additional funding so these committed public servants can continue to support their families and contribute to their communities.”

Major Gen. David Baldwin, The Adjutant General of the California Military Department, said: “It’s with deep gratitude that I thank Congressman Mark Takano for taking up an issue that is too often ignored — unemployment among the members of our Armed Forces.

“Because of the congressman’s vigilant leadership, the California Military Department will receive $1 million in federal funds to continue leading the effort to lower the unemployment rate across the California National Guard, all of which will go directly to the Work for Warriors employment program. At present, our limited funding efforts only allow us to place two to three out-of-work Guardsmen each day; this funding will go to hiring desperately needed employment officers across the state and help us to improve those numbers dramatically.”

• Approximately 9,000 homeless veterans living on the streets and in the nation’s shelter system will soon find a permanent place to call home.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced recently that HUD will provide $60 million to local public housing agencies across the country to offer permanent supportive housing to homeless veterans, many of whom are living with chronic disabling conditions.

The supportive housing assistance is provided through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA. Since 2008, a total of 48,385 vouchers have been awarded and 42,557 formerly homeless Veterans are currently in homes because of HUD-VASH.

“These HUD-VASH vouchers are a critical resource to accomplish our shared goal of ending Veterans’ homelessness in 2015,” Mr. Shinseki said. “With the continued support of President Obama, Congress and our community partners, we will end homelessness among veterans and provide these brave men and women with the earned care and benefits that help them live productive, meaningful lives.”

HUD-VASH is a critical part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to end veteran and long-term chronic homelessness in 2015. “Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness” serves as a map for how the federal government will work with state and local communities to confront the root causes of homelessness, especially among former servicemen and women.

HUD’s annual “point in time” estimate of the number of homeless persons and families for 2012 found that veteran homelessness fell by 7.2 percent (or 4,876 people) since January 2011 and by 17.2 percent since January 2009. On a single night in January 2012, 62,619 veterans were homeless.

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

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