VA Creates Advisory Committee On Homeless Veterans

April 12, 2002

By MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer

News & Links

America's Veterans

WASHINGTON/PRNewswire/ -- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi today announced creation of a new 15-member committee to advise him on issues affecting homeless veterans.

"The fact that there are veterans who are homeless in our nation should disturb all Americans," Principi said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides more direct assistance to the homeless than any other federal agency. VA programs touched about 100,000 homeless veterans last year. Services ranged from health care and disability payments to housing and job training.

"Communities across the country have developed successful programs to bring the homeless off the streets and helped them return to families and employment," Principi said. "This new advisory committee will tap into that wide, deep pool of expertise to help VA improve its services for these deserving veterans."

The panel, formally called the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans, is empowered by its charter to advise the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on a wide variety of issues. It will assess the effectiveness of policies and programs, identify gaps in programs serving the homeless, highlight barriers in law and federal policy that hinder programs and improve liaison with other federal, state and local agencies that work on homeless issues.

Robert Van Keuren, VA's Homeless Veterans Program Coordinator in Canandaigua, N.Y., will be the chairman of the committee. Each member will serve for up to three years. The committee will provide Principi with an annual report.

Members of the VA Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans

Robert Van Keuren, Chairman, Canandaigua, N.Y. Homeless Veterans VISN 2 Coordinator, supervising homeless programs at four VA medical centers. Co- founder of National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, former Executive Director Vietnam Veterans of San Diego and Navy veteran of the Vietnam War.

Michael Blecker, San Francisco. Executive director of Swords to Plowshares. Infantry veteran of the Vietnam War.

Raymond G. Boland, Sun Prairie, Wis. Secretary of the Wisconsin State Department of Veterans Affairs. Retired Army colonel and veteran of two tours in Vietnam.

Ralph D. Cooper, Roxbury, Mass. Executive director of Veterans Benefits Clearinghouse, Inc. and co-founder of National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Thomas J. Cray, Rochester, N.Y. President of Veterans Outreach Center, president of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and Navy veteran with two tours in Vietnam.

Dominic D. DiFrancesco, Middletown, Pa. Former national commander of the American Legion and Navy veteran of the Korean War.

Paul Errera, Woodbridge, Conn. Retired VA physician, past director of VA's Mental Health and Behavioral Science Service and former Army reservist.

Samuel G. Galbreath, Jr., Portland, Ore. Principal in Sam Galbreath Associates, Housing and Community Development. Was the developer of long-term housing created using VA's enhanced-lease program.

Carlos Martinez, San Antonio. President of American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program. Air Force veteran of the Vietnam era.

James F. McIssac, Boston. Navy veteran and chief executive officer of the Vietnam Veterans Workshop, which was formerly known as the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans.

* Donald W. Moreau, Centerpoint, Ind. Former executive director of Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation, former commissioner of Indiana Department of Labor. Retired Army colonel and Vietnam veteran.

Al Pavich, San Diego. President of Vietnam Veterans of San Diego, retired Navy commander and three-tour veteran of Vietnam.

Richard C. Schneider, Alexandria, Va. National Director of state and veterans affairs with Non-Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA). Chair of Veterans Organization Homeless Council and Air Force retiree.

Kathryn E. Spearman, Tampa. President of Volunteers of America of Florida. Works with transitional housing and mobile service outreach for homeless veterans. Roosevelt Thompson, Washington, D.C. Systems account associate in print shop of a major corporation. A participant in VA programs and services.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs