Using Technology to Help Homeless Veterans

More than 67,000 Veterans spent one night homeless, living in emergency shelters, transitional housing units or on the streets in 2011, according to last year’s “point in time” count conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in coordination with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

It’s not always easy for volunteers and outreach workers to know where to send them to get help. That’s why the VA is excited to launch a competition to provide easy access to resources that the homeless need, when they need them, and where they can get them.

Project REACH (Real-Time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless) challenges applicants to make a free, easy-to-use, and broadly accessible web- and Smartphone app to provide current and up-to-date information about housing and shelter, health clinics, food banks, and other services available to the homeless. It is designed to tap the enormous talent and deep compassion of the nation’s developer community to help us deliver vital information to the people who care for the homeless.

People caring for homeless Veterans will be able to use this app to look up the location and availability of shelters, free clinics, and other social services – and instantaneously be able to share this critical information with those in need.

This contest is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Joining Forces in support of the Administration’s goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.

For more information and to participate in the challenge, go to reachthehomeless.challenge.gov

W. Scott Gould is the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks

24 Comments to “Using Technology to Help Homeless Veterans”

  1. Ken Rhoden says:

    We must care for our veterans. As a current Brevard County Public Defender Candidate I support my local Veteran’s Court system and a local group The AVET Project, Inc. as well as work with the local Military Affairs Council. This is group that must have widespread support. Thank you, Mr. Gould, for bringing the subject to the forefront again.

    • Let’s face it…..VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is a sh*t bird. His speaking engagements are nothing but a smoke screen to keep make the general public think his adminstration is actually doing something to end homeless among veterans.

      I’m a homeless vet and can tell you the bullsh*t that we vets are going through with this draconian ran department. VA Caseworkers are purposely “flagging” veterans so they don’t have to do paperwork. They’re lying about vets being abusive towards them to get out of doing work. Before you know it, the next caseworker is on the band wagon.

      Therefore, many vets are not getting the help that they need because they have been erroneously “flagged” which is their excuse for not providing service in fear that the vet may harm someone. Caseworkers all over the country are using this method to eliminated a hefty stack of paperwork.

      You even have caseworkers who purposely try to upset the vet by talking down on them in hopes that they will become insubordinate and give them a reason to flag.

      I guarantee you this came from the top (VA Secretary Eric Shinseki). He pretty much operates the VA like the military with the same cheap destructive tactics.
      F**KER!!

  2. Rich says:

    Bullshit!!! The VA ruined my life. Stay out!

    • chris says:

      How did they ruin your life?

    • connie L. says:

      The VA has a lot to offer. The individual must seek out the help and network with other veterans at service organizations or at their local hospitals and regional centers to find out everything available. The VA works for those who put a little effort into their lives to make a better future and get things on track. Congrats to Bon Jovi for his stand.

    • charlotte says:

      Rich, may I ask how the VA ruined your life? What happened?

      • jasper says:

        We did what we had to do so in my mind we saved our country.What ever it takes.They have a program in colorado springs colorado for homless vets call the crawford house,this program is the best that i have ever seen.People have to go to other places for help,its call the word of mouth let others know where to get get help this is the only way we can stay a country.

    • Mrs. Valentine says:

      the VA has saved my life. I believe technology will help veterans everwhere, we can see a vet on the street and pull up an app to let them know where there help only blocks away from where they’re standing. Great Idea

  3. John says:

    I think it’s kind of sad that we need a contest to get some people to do what we as volunteers do every day. It’s about Veterans helping our brothers and sister Vets..

  4. richard says:

    the va homeless programs are a joke they dont offer any elp that you cant get from a church i ran a sign and get more help from that than te va homeless programs the cwt program in iowa city iowa is a joke the guy that runs it wont even return my phone calls

    • mike says:

      dude…that is so true. the va programs are indeed a joke. and, your correct about this clown not returning calls. i went through the same thing. these so called programs look good on paper, but only a smoke screen to put the general public at ease. ive been all over the country and its like this everywhere. all the va does is funnel the work out to crooked homeless shelters such as, salvation army or missions that treat vets like prisoners. hell, im being punished for being homeless (lol).

      the va needs to stop giving the programs to these crooked non-profit organization who do nothing but steal from homeless ppl that stay there. hell, by dealing with the salvation army and missions alone, ive lost 2 computers and 5 cell phones to staff members. they make you turn in all of your electronics to the front desk which is more often than none managed by programmers (junkies) who one minute praise jesus and then steal your stuff (lol). f*ck the va and their programs!

  5. Jen says:

    Even if there is an app to get real time info about resources and services, the problem is that there is a shortage of resources and services. There are waiting lists for shelters and affordable, accessible housing is out of reach of most homeless veterans. The VA needs to do more to create REAL housing; not housing in cyberspace that may not be available when a real human being appears on the doorstep.

    • Jeffrey ellis says:

      I did a couple of “programs” in Atlanta through the VA homeless program. There was help for me but I drank again after four months and was kicked out. I am going to research non-VA help and see what’s available. The VA did get me hooked up with medical benefits I didn’t know I had. They did help me. My friend lets me live with her and got me enrolled in college online but I need my own place to live and some kind of income. I hope to get a job at age 54 and help the war vets in some capacity.
      When I was on the street you needed an ID and to get an ID you needed an address. It is very difficult to climb out of the hole once you are sleeping on the golf course in Candler Park.

  6. richard says:

    i wonder if anyone reads these comments

  7. Hey, the va can’t count, that’s a fact. I have been in the month of Nov.2011, and it is now 3-20-12, been dianosed with bone cancer, 2 nodes on my lymph node and spleen, and suddenly dropped from my team just wandering in the maze havn’t gotten any treatment for these condition, was rejected from the optomertrist, had to to pay for my own eye exam and having to buy my own glasses and I’m a 100%disabled vet. shreveportvamc dianosed and alexandria,louisianavamc has kicked me to the curb. you say you help the homeless, how about getting treatment, the VA has an unwritten motto, let um die then we don’t have to care for them-right all you are full of sheep dunk

  8. Dave says:

    I was homeless from Aug 2011 to Nov 2011 and the VA did not help me at all. I called them every day for help and it got to the point that they did not to hear from me any more. They did NOT help at all Their response was to go to a shelter or give me a list of housing for disabled and I had to call all the apartments on the list myself only to be told that they had already told the VA that they had no vacancies. I’m sorrry, but the VA Homeless program did not do anything for me or for that matte3r for other Vets that I have spoken to. I had to do every thing for myself.

  9. Combat Veteran says:

    The obligated fiscal funds provided to help the homeless is the governments largest case of Fraudulent Waste and Abuse! I am a VA employee and I have seen first hand the different areas of the VA that need to be revamped, but is not due to lack of funds.

    I’m not saying the homeless veteran population should not be serviced but the goals outlined by “Top Brass” is not acheviable! First of all, not everyone wants or requests help. Those who do should be served, but the amount of money fed into different homeless programs is sick. In my opinion this is purely a POLITICAL statement made by “Top Brass”, in order to spend money…use it or lose it.

    There is a VA program that imputs veterans records electroniclly, but the server gets bogged down because the server is not able to handle the amount of users. Example, he system is normal for employees’, eastern time zone. As employees log onto the system from other time zones the server just about crashes, making it almost impossible to conduct any business. This problem is a multi-million dollar IT fix, but the money is not there. Money is given to a program that cannot solve a problem only painfully sustain.

  10. David L Baughman says:

    I am on the verg of being homeless at the end of this month 3/31/2012 because our wonderful va system cut off my benefits due to a non existant overdraft. This decision came from the Philidelphia office and the St Lewis office cut off my benefits to collect the suposed overdraft. Even though they are aware of the oversight they told me it will take several months to correct. St Lewis said it is handled by philly and Philly said it is handled by St Lewis. I connected with the pittsburgh va homeless program and they called me right back but there is a waiting list for domicilary care meanwhile i will be living in my car on the street. There should be a hot line to correct these mistakes with a phone call. Someone should have this power to both care for the vets and save the system from sensless overburden of paperwork. What ever happened to the paperwork reduction act?

    • Call your local TV news organization and tell them that the VA is about to make you homeless; then call your senator and tell his staff that the press is involved and you need help to get this fixed before you are homeless.

  11. Chake says:

    What does Bon Jovi have to do with this article?

  12. mike c. says:

    when people are hurt because of wounds recieved while serving their country the pain they have is real wether the wounds can be seen or not the pain is real.and when some of us hurt we can tend to lash out partly because of our pain and feeling of desparation and helplessness we push those away who might be able to help and we cause others to turn a deaf ear. you have to take a pro active stance in your own care and more importantly paitence is your best alli never loose sight of this you were and still are the best and worth the effort keep asking questions till you get answers then ask more questions.

  13. Jason says:

    It should be the VA’s policy to offer employment services to any VET who needs a job. The VA could open its own temp service with the amount of potential labor available.

    In other words do more than hold workshops on how to write a resume

  14. riley says:

    Not all the va’s are the same especially in major metropolitian citys. I am no longer homeless, however the va did help me get back on my feet and back to work. You must realize a lot of vets have abused the system to the point of severe screening process. To find out just what you want to acheive in your treatment. I live out in the courntry now, 2 hrs from houston, tx. and there are some 3.500 homeless vets walking the streets of the houston metroplex. There is no way for everyone to be helped at once. One must have patients, and be smart about what YOU the vets wants to acheive. Just remember if you go for help, be smart, and do not LIE about your situation. The va has your records and if you are caught in a LIE they will NOT help you and you have generated a computer trail that will follow you to every va you seek help at. Vietnam combat vet and us army sfc retired Riley