Good afternoon NCHV members,
Many of you have read the VA OIG report released this week, describing an audit of the VA's homeless veteran call center. While we will work with federal agencies to ensure this unacceptable performance is improved, we are nevertheless deeply disappointed in the numbers of veterans who fell through the cracks. No veteran in need seeking immediate services should ever go to a voicemail.
We take these results very seriously. In terms of immediate steps, we expect more thorough oversight and accountability associated with this initiative, as well as greater follow up and follow through for veterans seeking referrals and services. We will be watching the implementation of the corrective action plan closely and communicating continuously with our government partners to make sure that changes are implemented expeditiously so that veterans reaching out through the call center receive a rapid response from someone on the other end of the phone line. This call center should be a constructive piece of our overall outreach system to veterans experiencing homelessness, not a distraction. It must do better for the veterans we serve.
Do not let this derail your progress. Across the country, partnerships between your organizations, VAMC staff members, Mayors’ offices, and other community partners are reaching homeless veterans in unprecedented ways. Do not let a setback in one outreach tool slow you down.
The members of NCHV know that the veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness are coming to your doors, attending your Stand Downs, and calling your outreach workers. You are the front lines. Outreach efforts are working. You are firing on all cylinders and your local and national partners are too.
Remember, the NCHV staff is here to serve you. As you celebrate local successes, we hope you take a moment to let us know about them. If you have questions, comments or suggestions about this report, or other matters, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.