During several award ceremonies across the country in July, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will honor exemplary facilities, employees and civilian providers working to address Veteran homelessness.   

“VA’s strong community efforts on Veteran homelessness are being supported by the hard work, innovation and dedication of thousands of VA employees and civilian partners,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin. “Helping Veterans get housing is vital for them, but it also demonstrates clearly to the nation our enduring commitment to those who have served so well.”

The Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Service for Homeless Veterans saluted top achievers in the following three categories:

VA Employees:

Julie E. Irwin, Homeless Care line manager, Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 2 (Bronx, N.Y.)

Michael Wehrer, supervisor, Homeless Care Team, Erie VA Medical Center (Erie, Penn.)

Kristen Weese, program manager, Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program, Western New York Health Care System (Buffalo, N.Y.)

VA Organizations:

Domiciliary Service — VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, Calif.

Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program, New Orleans

Albany Stratton VA Medical Center, Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program, Albany.

Community Organizations:

John E. Ratka, executive director, Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, Haverhill, Mass.

Family Endeavors, Fayetteville, N.C.

Ivory Mathews, executive director, The Greenville Housing Authority, Greenville, S.C.

Team AMVETS, Garden Grove, Calif.

Project Community Connections, Inc., Atlanta

Virginia Veteran and Family Support Program, Richmond, Va.

According to Family Endeavors Website, their Veteran Services program offers Homelessness Prevention & Stabilization Services to Veterans and their families in Texas, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina. These supportive services include outreach, case management, help in obtaining VA benefits, emergency financial assistance for rent & utilities and assistance in obtaining and coordinating other public benefits.

Family Endeavors, Inc. is a long-standing, national non-profit agency that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans and those struggling with mental illness and other significant disabilities.

The Mission of Family Endeavors is to “provide comprehensive, effective, and innovative services that empower people to build better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. We believe in their capacity to grow, to heal, to change, to succeed and to affect those around them for the better.”

Believe. Belong. Become. Family Endeavors serves over 16,000 clients each year providing services that target homelessness, unemployment, child abuse, foster care, disabilities, childcare, education, disasters, independent living, and counseling. Family Endeavors unifies families torn apart by poverty, unemployment or neglect providing real, practical solutions and a path to earned income. Families receive counseling, crisis intervention, case management, homeless prevention services, parent training, practical life skills, and vocational support, training and employment, according to their website.


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