Homeless Programs Office Monthly Newsletter | January 2023

Corona Virus Updates from VA CDC link for Corona Virus Updates

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The Homeless Programs Office (HPO) newsletter contains news and information about VA’s ongoing effort to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans.

VHA Homeless Programs Office

Executive Director’s Message | Around HPO 

Health Update | Staff Spotlight | Fact of the Month

Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness are strongly encouraged to contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at
(877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance.

Message From Monica Diaz, Executive Director, VHA Homeless Programs Office


Fred Rogers—best known from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood—once said, “It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

When it comes to Veteran homelessness, too many say, “It’s not my problem.” But not at VA.

VA homeless programs staff and our partners see the need and respond. And for this, I consider them my heroes.

Around this time last year, VA Secretary Denis McDonough shared his vision to create a national challenge that would re-invigorate VA’s efforts toward ending Veteran homelessness with me. We agreed that focusing on permanent housing placements would yield impactful results immediately and prevent returns to homelessness for years to come.

Setting a goal to increase the number of national permanent housing placements by 5% felt ambitious—especially considering the continued unpredictability of the pandemic and the historic shortage of affordable housing across the country.

Still, Secretary McDonough and I agreed that with careful strategic planning, close collaboration—and most importantly—the dedication of VA employees, our partners, and the Veterans we serve—placing 38,000 Veterans into permanent housing by the end of 2022 was not impossible. It was what our Veterans deserved.

When Secretary McDonough announced the challenge last February, VA staff and partners got to work. Day after day, month after month, they put in the time, took on more responsibilities, contacted more landlords and community organizations, and conferenced with colleagues across the country to brainstorm new ideas.

Because they believed in our Veterans, our Veterans began to believe in themselves. And as a result, 40,401 Veterans were permanently housed during the challenge.

Read Monica’s full message.

Around HPO

Man holding cardboard house cutout

Ending Veteran Homelessness Podcast: What the New Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness Means for Veterans

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) recently released All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. On this month’s Ending Veteran Homelessness podcast, hear Jeff Olivet, executive director for USICH, discuss how the plan will impact Veterans, what the plan aims to accomplish, and where the government is going next. Listen to the full episode.

Man reaching hand out

HUD, VA Award $25.4 Million to Provide Housing Assistance for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness

Along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), VA has awarded $25.4 million to provide housing assistance for Veterans experiencing homelessness, building on the investments that resulted in an 11% decline in Veterans homelessness from 2020 to 2022. Read the full press release.

Man lying on bench

HUD Releases 2022 Annual Homeless Assessment Report

The Point-in-Time (PIT) Count is an annual effort led by HUD to estimate the number of Americans, including Veterans, without safe, sdiv housing. It’s one of the tools used to assess progress each year toward VA’s priority goal of ending homelessness among Veterans. Read the full 2022 report here.


Biden-Harris Administration Announces Plan to Reduce Homelessness 25% by 2025

We achieved our goal of housing 38,000 homeless Veterans in 2022 – but we aren’t stopping there. The Biden-Harris Administration has announced a plan to reduce all homelessness by 25% by 2025, and we’re proud to do our part to support the cause through the work we do for Veterans. Learn more about the plan here.

DoorDash Zoomo Partnership

Veterans’ Voices: DoorDash, Zoomo Partner Up to Offer Employment Program for Veterans

In an effort to assist Veterans seeking employment after life in the military, DoorDash and Zoomo partnered up to provide a unique pilot program to offer them training and a job. Watch the video to learn about the partnership and how it’s creating opportunities for Veterans in Los Angeles.


All In 101 Webinar Recording and Slides

Watch this webinar from USICH, which gives an overview of All In, the new federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. The presenters cover the current state of homelessness, how the All In plan was developed, how it will be implemented, and what metrics will be used to show success.

Health Update

Man at airport in mask

Improving ventilation and filtration can help prevent virus particles from accumulating in indoor air and can help protect you from getting infected with and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

The CDC recommends spending time outside when possible instead of inside, as viral particles spread between people more readily indoors than outdoors. Other actions that can improve ventilation and filtration include:

  • Bringing in as much outdoor air as possible—for example, opening windows.
  • Increasing air filtration in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, such as by changing filters frequently and using filters that are properly fitted and provide higher filtration.
  • Using pordiv high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners.
  • Turning on exhaust fans and using other fans to improve air flow.
  • Turning your thermostat to the “ON” position instead of “AUTO” to ensure your HVAC system provides continuous airflow and filtration.

HPO Staff Spotlight: Masaki Hirayama, LCSW

Masaki Hirayama

Masaki Hirayama serves as a legislative liaison for the VHA Homeless Programs Office, working alongside national leaders to impact legislation and shape policies that help organizations end Veteran homelessness. The work is meaningful to many, but especially to Hirayama, whose father once struggled to navigate the homeless system and get help.

Read the full spotlight to learn about how she worked her way up from making an impact on an individual basis to contributing to change at the systemic level.

HPO Fact of the Month

Man on bench

Did you know VA offers assistance that helps Veterans avoid eviction? If you or a Veteran you know is struggling to pay rent, utilities, or other housing costs, learn about rental assistance and legal aid resources.

If in need of safe, sdiv housing, call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838).

If other resources are needed, visit our Housing Resources page to access information on the full variety of available VA resources including housing assistancehealth careemployment programs, mental health services, and food security.