VA aims to house 38,000 homeless vets as Turner pledges to protect benefits

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Dayton’s congressman visited a St. Mary Development housing site on the Dayton VA campus Wednesday to assure residents that their VA, Social Security and Medicaid benefits are safe.

The visit came the same day the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said it will try to place at least 38,000 homeless veterans nationally into permanent housing.

Staff members from St. Mary Development Corp., Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton, CareSource and the VA were to speak with residents at Lyons Place II Wednesday, a site the Dayton VA opened in 2014 as housing for senior, low-income veterans.

The visit happened while Washington D.C. stares down what President Biden’s administration says is the increasingly urgent need for a federal debt ceiling increase.

Biden has accused Republicans of targeting Social Security and Medicare benefits for future cuts.

“A lot of Republicans, their dream is to cut Social Security and Medicare,” Biden said in Tampa., Fla. last month. “Well, let me say this: If that’s your dream, I’m your nightmare.”

Said Turner on Wednesday: “No one in Washington is discussing any benefit cuts for anyone who is currently on Social Security or Medicare or anyone who is a near-term beneficiary of Social Security and Medicare.”

Turner says he opposes any cuts to those programs.

Democrats have targeted Sen. Rick Scott’s proposal to sunset some federal spending programs. Scott, R-Fla., has said his plan would not apply to entitlement programs or defense spending.

Also Wednesday, the VA department said it will work to ensure that at least 95% of veterans housed in 2023 do not return to homelessness during the year.

And of those who return to homelessness, the VA said it will ensure that at least 90% are rehoused or on a path to rehousing by the end of 2023.

Further, the department said it will engage with at least 28,000 unsheltered veterans to help them get housing and other services, a more than 10% increase in the number of unsheltered veterans reached during 2022.

The number of homeless veterans has fallen by 11% since early 2020 and by more than 55% since 2010, the VA said. And in 2022, the VA placed more than 40,000 homeless veterans into permanent housing — exceeding the department’s goal that year by more than 6%.

“VA benefits are a moral obligation we have as a nation,” Turner said. “Ever since Abraham Lincoln established the benefits program for those who have served in the Civil War, our nation has embraced that these are both people to be honored and benefits to be earned, and it’s a trust between our nation and those who have served”

“We are making real progress in the fight to end veteran homelessness, but even one veteran experiencing homelessness is one too many,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a release Wednesday. “We will not rest until every veteran has a safe, stable place to call home in this country they fought to defend.”

About the Author