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Picture This: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans in Chicago

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There are an increasing number of veterans returning home who may end up homeless due to a myriad of issues; family connection, mental and physical health challenges, and difficulty transitioning to civilian life.

The "Picture This: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans" webcast and forum, to be streamed live June 13, 2013 at 2:15 p.m. on MyFoxChicago.com, consists of invited presentations from a select group of local elected officials, media representatives and local leaders. The event will be held at the Pritzker Military Library in Chicago.

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The audience, as distinguished participants in Veteran Affairs and Housing issues, will join a diverse group of experts in these fields to identify and prioritize the key topics and messages concerning veterans and homelessness in the media today. The stakeholders have the message; the media panelists are the messengers.

This collaboration is one of the most productive methods to drive increased attention and focus to the challenges associated with veterans and homelessness in order to inspire accurate stories in the media.

The Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC), a leader in providing depiction suggestions of health and social issues to entertainment and news media, Fox 32 Chicago, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Homeless Veterans Initiative Office collaborated to present "Picture This: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans."

Homeless Veterans Quick Facts

  • The 2012 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, prepared by HUD, estimates there were 62,619 homeless Veterans on a single night in January in the United States, a 7.2 percent decline since 2011 and a 17.2 percent decline since 2009.
  • While the number of homeless people in the U.S. dropped by less than 1 percent, according to the 2012 AHAR, Veteran homelessness has shown a more robust decline.
  • Each year, VA provides health care to almost 150,000 homeless Veterans and other services to over 112,000 Veterans through its specialized homeless programs.
  • This year, VA announced the availability of $300 million in grants as part of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program for community organizations, estimated to serve approximately 70,000 Veterans and their family members facing homelessness.
  • Through September 2012, SSVF has aided approximately 21,500 Veterans and over 35,000 individuals.
  • Since SSVF is able to help the Veteran's family, 8,826 children were also assisted, helping Veterans keep their families housed and together.

 

VA PTSD Program Quick Facts

  • In Fiscal Year 2011, 476,515 Veterans with primary or secondary diagnosis of PTSD received treatment at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers and clinics.
  • In 2010, Secretary Shinseki reduces the evidence needed by Veterans seeking health care and disability compensation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The simplified process allows for faster and more accurate decisions and faster access to medical care to Veterans.
  • All Veterans coming to VA for the first time are screened for the presence of symptoms of PTSD and depression.
  • Treatment is driven by a recovery orientation, which includes a focus on the Veteran's needs and preferences in order to help them fulfill their personal goals and live meaningful lives.
  • The PTSD Coach mobile app is available as a free download for iPhone or Android devices to help Veteran's manage PTSD symptoms. The app has been downloaded over 66,000 times in over 65 countries.
  • VA has launched Make the Connection, Strong at the Broken Places, and About Face—campaigns that aim to help Veteran's feel comfortable talking about PTSD and seeking help if need be.

VA's Mental Health Quick Facts

    • In 2011, more than 1.3 million Veterans received specialized mental health treatment from VA for mental health related issues.
    • VA has many entry points to care through the use of 300 Vet Centers, the Veterans Crisis Line, and integration of mental health services in the primary care setting.
    • VA's Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-TALK (8255), press 1) has been operational since August 2007 and has expanded to include a Chat Service and texting option for contacting the Crisis Line. It has made:
      • Over 680,000 calls and over 72,000 chat connections
      • Over 24,000 rescues of those in immediate suicidal crisis
      • Over 110,000 callers provided referral to a VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator
    • VA has expanded access, with longer clinic hours, telemental heath capability to deliver services, and standards that mandate rapid access to mental health services.
    • VA is working closely with the Department of Defense on different mental health strategies and programs.

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