It's a sad reality that in this, the world's richest country, on any given night, there are tens of thousands of Veterans living on the streets or in shelters. It has been an intractable problem, until recently, when VA and HUD teamed up to end Veterans' homelessness by 2015.
To be sure, it's a challenging task given the complexity and range of causes surrounding the scourge of homelessness. But thanks to Mark and Susan's respective experience, expertise, and leadership, we've made measurable and meaningful progress. v
The individuals on the HUD-VA team discovered they have super-powers when they leverage the combined capability of a 300,000-person VA health and benefits system—including medical care, mental health, vocational rehabilitation and training—and the extraordinary reach and expertise of the 9,000 good people at HUD.
Susan and her VA team have made cooperation and collaboration the bywords of working with their HUD counterparts. More than that, she and her colleagues—Pete Dougherty, Lisa Pape, and Vincent Kane—brought an additional measure of commitment, urgency, and partnership to serving homeless Veterans. And there's nothing more urgent, more immediate, than providing our former warriors the most basic of human physiological needs—shelter and safety.
At every turn, Susan and Team VA leveraged a simple but powerful VA credo known as I-CARE. It stands for a values-based approach to our operations and it means services delivered with Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence.
Our homeless Veterans deserve nothing less.
Susan and Team VA have brought this issue into sharp focus here in Washington and at our more than 1300 VA locations from Maine to Manila. They've created a landmark National Homeless Registry populated with the names, bios, treatments, and services afforded over 400,000 formerly homeless and at-risk Veterans. This data warehouse helps VA clearly assess our program effectiveness and long-term outcomes for members of a nomadic population using our services.
It also provides a virtual 'dashboard' to track the number of Veterans, nationwide, who are screened and approved for the HUD–VA Supportive Housing Program, and who receive those life-changing housing vouchers.
The truth of the matter is that no one agency of government can do it all. Whether in the public or private sector, partnerships of all kinds are essential to achieving meaningful results in the 21st century. Susan and Mark have proven themselves true partners for progress. By their efforts and by their remarkable results, they've demonstrated the undeniable super-power of partnerships.
Ladies and gentlemen, here's a short video to tell you more about our HUD-VA initiative.