U.S. awards $10.5 million to help homeless veterans in California
On the eve of a summer season of Stand Down events for homeless veterans, the federal government Thursday announced that it had awarded $10.5 million in rental housing vouchers to more than 20 local agencies throughout California.
The vouchers, announced by the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs, are to be used for homeless veterans as they enroll in counseling and other programs. A second round of funding will be announced by the end of summer, officials said.
Among agencies in Southern California, the largest grant was $1,851,912 to the city of Los Angeles Housing Authority, followed by $927,747 to the city of Orange Housing Authority, $867,996 to the Los Angeles County Housing Authority and $639,468 to the San Diego Housing Commission.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki has vowed to eliminate homelessness among veterans by 2015.
"This critical assistance will help keep homeless veterans across California off the streets while providing access to services like job training and education," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
Friday is the beginning of the 24th annual Stand Down event in San Diego where homeless veterans are offered an array of services to meet their medical, dental, legal and psychological needs. More than 1,000 veterans are expected to attend the three-day event.
Begun in 1988 to assist Vietnam veterans, the Stand Down pattern has spread from San Diego to more than 100 communities nationwide.
In California, Stand Down-style events are planned this summer at Long Beach, Santa Ana, Compton, Bakersfield, Fresno, Ferndale, the Nevada County Fairgrounds, Roseville and Redding.
--Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: Stanley William-Morris, center, a retired National Guardsman from San Diego, covers his heart during the "Star Spangled Banner" at Stand Down, an event organized by Veterans Village to help homeless veterans in San Diego. Credit: Los Angeles Times