Homeless Programs Office Monthly Newsletter | April 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.


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


“You will likely never walk again.”

Those are among the first words Marine Veteran Kevin Rumley remembers hearing from his doctor after his injury.

An improvised explosive device (IED) Rumley encountered along the Iraq-Syrian border was to blame for his doctor’s prognosis—and the more than 30 surgeries to follow.

Rumley ultimately proved his doctor wrong and walked out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on his own 18 months later. As he left his hospital room for the first time in months, Rumley had a renewed sense of determination—and a prescription for pain medication intended to ease the healing process.

Rumley’s OxyContin prescription was marketed as a revolutionary, non-addictive pain management solution by the now-infamous Purdue Pharma. Unfortunately, he would become one of the early victims of the opioid epidemic that has ravaged this nation.  

When Rumley’s prescription ended, his brain’s demand for the relief the medication offered did not. The Veteran—like so many other Americans—was forced to turn to self-medicating with illegal substances, which ultimately resulted in his introduction to the criminal justice system. 

Only months earlier, Rumley was in the best shape of his life, proudly wearing his country’s uniform. However, his story illustrates just how quickly—and through no fault of one’s own—life can change.

Read Monica’s full message.

Around HPO

EVH Podcast

Ending Veteran Homelessness Podcast: Helping Justice-Involved Veterans Get Their “Second Chance”

This month, we are joined by Sean Clark, National Director for Veterans Justice Programs and Madolyn Gingell, National Coordinator for Legal Services for Veterans to learn about why it’s important to help Veterans get their “second chance”. Our guests talk about what justice involvement is, how past incarceration can impact Veterans’ risk for homelessness, and what VA is doing about it. Listen to the full episode.

Navy Veteran William Peterson

VA Homeless programs a “Good Win” for Navy Veteran

“VA rescued me from being homeless. It saved me.” When Navy Veteran William Peterson was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, his medical needs increased. VA helped Peterson use his housing vouchers for a medical foster home to get him the care he needed. Read his story.

Man sitting in dark tunnel

The Negative Health Impacts of Unsheltered Homelessness

There are infinite pathways that can lead a person to struggle to keep a roof over their head. Veterans experiencing this may find themselves unsure of how to get help or hesitant to ask, which can lead to them experiencing unsheltered homelessness. Learn about the negative impacts of unsheltered homelessness, and what VA is doing to help.

Police officers listening and taking notes

VA and Law Enforcement Collaboration Improves Veteran Outcomes

Wilmington VA police and social workers created a first-of-its-kind partnership with Delaware law enforcement to study the effects of Veteran-specific police intervention tactics. The study, recently published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, found an increase in overall health care utilization at Wilmington VA after Veteran-police interactions occurred. Read the full story.

Wooden houses

So, You Want to House Homeless Veterans

Are you a landlord, housing developer, nonprofit organization, or member of the public interested in providing housing opportunities to Veterans? Learn which VA program will best help you support Veterans experiencing homelessness.

Vietnam Veteran saluting

From Vietnam to VA: Two Vietnam Veterans Share Their Stories with C20

Hear from two Vietnam Veterans as they discuss lessons and experiences from their military service, how those informed their VA careers and shaped their interactions with other Veterans, and their transition back to civilian life. Listen now.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Welcome Home! Vietnam War Commemoration

The U.S. Department of Defense will host a three-day Welcome Home event on May 11-13 near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to honor Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices.

Apartment building

Stockton Enhanced Use Lease Development Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

VA’s Enhanced-Use Lease Program has issued an RFQ to develop and operate supportive housing and provide services that benefit Veterans and their families in the VA Northern California Health Care System area. Learn more.

Homeless encampments

Research Brief: Prevalence of Eviction, Home Foreclosure and Homelessness among Low-Income U.S. Veterans

The National Veteran Homeless and Other Poverty Experiences (NV-HOPE) study was designed to address the following aims: to describe the lifetime prevalence of eviction, home foreclosure and homelessness among low-income U.S. Veterans; to examine the rates of homelessness among Veterans with histories of evictions and home foreclosures; and to identify sociodemographic, housing and clinical characteristics associated with evictions, home foreclosures and homelessness. Read the research brief to learn the outcomes of the study.

Health Update

Video interview

Post-COVID conditions can include a wide range of ongoing health problems; these conditions can last weeks, months, or years. VA created a resource to help Veterans recognize Long COVID symptoms that they may be having and helps them to understand that there is hope.

In this powerful video, Veterans Franz, LaTrice and Mark tell us in their own words what life was like when they were first diagnosed with Long COVID and how their health and overall quality of life improved. Watch the full video.

HPO Staff Spotlight: Madolyn Gingell, LCSW

Madolyn Gingell

Madolyn Gingell was initially drawn to working for VA because she saw how committed it was to serving those in need. As national coordinator for the Legal Services for Veterans (LSV) Program, Gingell now gets to do that every day through the work she does—namely, helping to increase access to legal services for eligible Veterans.

Read her full spotlight to learn more about LSV and how it serves justice-involved Veterans.

HPO Fact of the Month

Man holding cardboard cutout of house

41% of all homeless Veterans were unsheltered during 2022. Despite homelessness amongst Veterans continuing to drop, our communities are seeing an increase in the rate of Veterans experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

Learn more about unsheltered homelessness, including why it matters and what VA is doing to help.