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Following a settlement with tribes, SD phases In voting-access reforms; older voters: formidable factor in Maine gubernatorial race; walking: a simple way to boost heart health.


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State Reaches Out to Veterans Experiencing Homelessness


Wednesday, July 13, 2022   

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is reaching out to veterans who are experiencing homelessness, a number that's close to 1,000 people, according to the latest counts.

Joel Mutschler, director of the Bureau of Veterans Programs and Outreach, said the most pressing issue for these folks is resource awareness.

"Through PA VETConnect, we've been finding that one out of five requests for resources that we get are related to housing insecurity or homelessness," he said. "And so, we have been working a lot in this space and ensuring that all of our veterans and their family members are connected to housing services so that they're not experiencing housing insecurity."

The department is hosting a series of virtual town-hall meetings about veterans' issues. The next one is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. today and focuses on homelessness. PA VETConnect is the online portal to link veterans with resources.

Mutschler said the department also is seeing growing numbers of homeless veterans who are women with children - partly the result of an overall lack of affordable housing in the Commonwealth. He said they're working with a variety of community groups to try to keep families housed.

"One of the issues that we've got is that about 11% of the homeless population is - of adults in the nation - are homeless," he said. "So, it's a concerning trend for us. And we're seeing what our community providers are doing in taking care of families, women veterans that are experiencing homelessness."

He added that having enough resources for everyone who needs them has been a concern during the pandemic, but many groups have stepped up to help. He said there is no cost for veterans to apply for local, state or federal assistance - and there are Veterans Services officers in every county.

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