Homeless veterans get help at Fort Worth fair

Posted Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to its goal of ending chronic homelessness for veterans, and an event held Wednesday in Fort Worth is the kind of project that can help make it happen, a federal official said.

Dr. Tommy Sowers, assistant secretary for the VA's office of public and intergovernmental affairs in Washington D.C., visited the Cowtown Homeless Veteran Stand Down Wednesday, where 25 to 30 vendors offered services to more than 100 homeless veterans at the Resource Connection.

Homeless men and women got information on housing, educational and employment programs, as well as hygiene kits, food, clothing and shoes.

"The federal government doesn't have all the solutions, and we have to partner with state, local and community organizations to get this done," Sowers said. "No veteran who fought for their country should have to fight for a roof over their head."

In 2009, President Obama and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced the federal government's goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015. So far, efforts have moved about 40,000 veterans off the streets, bring the estimated number of homeless veterans down to about 65,000, Sowers said.

"It is a bold and ambitious goal," Sowers said.

Wednesday's event was the fourth one held at the Resource Connection; last year's drew 165 veterans, said Linda Saucedo, program manager for the Fort Worth homeless veterans program. Several partners helped organize the stand down.

Darlene Armstead, 48, who served in the U.S. Marines from 1982 to 1986, said she found everything from a new pair of shoes to information on the new Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, which helps unemployed veterans get job training. The retraining program is designed to prepare 99,000 veterans for work during the next two years.

"They have everything real well organized here," Armstead said. "It's good to see all people who can help you together so you can just walk up and get your questions answered."

Alex Branch, 817-390-7689

Twitter: @albranch1

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