WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) today released a new national estimate of Veteran homelessness in the United States. Data collected during the annual Point-in-Time Count conducted in January 2014 shows there were 49,933 homeless Veterans in America, a decline of 33 percent (or 24,837 people) since 2010. This includes a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of Veterans sleeping on the street.
Fairgoers are invited to meet and greet legislators and weigh in on hot political topics during their visit to the House of Representatives booth at the state fair.
Take a “selfie,” a “twofie” or a formal portrait to post on social media as you grab the gavel and stand behind a replica of the House speaker’s desk. Complete with flags and the Abraham Lincoln portrait, the display gives you a feel for what it is like to stand in this position of power. Be sure to find out the fascinating history behind the portrait.
Vettes for Vets visited the Minneapolis Veterans Homes Sunday, August 17.
For this month’s article I have decided to take a more serious tone as to the role we all played in caring for our Veterans. First of all, I congratulate the Veterans Service Organizations for successful conferences and their continuing work in caring for Veterans. In some cases, the attendance was lighter than desired, but the leadership ensured the organization continued going in the right direction.
I am extremely proud to play a small part in making Minnesota a better place for all Veterans. And, as always, I am especially grateful to the auxiliaries for their work. I have always considered them to be the rock upon which many organizations are built.
When talking about leadership, I often use the analogy of a book that I have read. The title of the book was “The Red Badge of Courage.” The story was about a young man during the Civil War. During a battle he became frightened and ran. In doing so, he fell hitting his head on a rock which caused it to bleed. As the story goes he got connected to another unit and when they saw the blood stained bandage on his head they assumed he had been in battle. Since they were fearful, they looked to him as a leader. The story builds on how others trust in him helped him to overcome his fears and move on to be the leader they had envisioned.
On July 8 Hilton Hotels in Minnesota joined three other states in a new program that provides accommodations to Veterans searching for jobs outside of their residential area. Hilton Worldwide and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) have partnered with the state of Minnesota to assist military Veterans with finding fulfilling jobs. The HHonors Military program was designed to give back to military service personnel through providing HHonors points to eligible transitioning service members, Veterans, and military spouses. By becoming a HHonors Military member, Veterans will receive a 100,000 point donation to their account. These points can be redeemed to support travel expenses related to job-search activities.
As another legislation session comes to a close, several new measures to honor our Veterans have been achieved. On July 16, Governor Dayton invited the public to a ceremonial signing of a new bill passed in the last session to fund construction of a Hmong-Lao Veterans Memorial in the Capitol Area. The memorial will honor all Hmong-Lao Veterans of the war in Laos who were allied with the American forces during the Vietnam War. State leaders designed $450,000 to complete the design and construction of the new memorial. This appropriation is only available after at least $90,000 has been committed to the project from non-state sources.