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VA Takes Another Step Toward “Housing First”

Robert Rosebrock addresses the crowd of mostly veterans and VA officials.
Robert Rosebrock addresses the crowd of mostly veterans and VA officials.

The new “czar” overseeing the VA’s local plans to provide shelter and treatment for homeless veterans, Vince Kane, has provided an opportunity for veterans to express their concerns about treatment at the hands of the VA – and future plans for providing housing and treatment to homeless veterans.

The event was held at Patriotic Hall downtown on April 10; another, a similar event is planned for the Westside sometime in May.

The VA will follow a “housing first” model, said Kane. According to this model, before a homeless person can benefit from treatment, he or she needs a roof over his or her head. Many homeless veterans suffer mental health issues which can lead to drug and alcohol problems.

Many veterans expressed relief that it appeared the VA was finally getting serious about the problems facing homeless veterans. Others expressed skepticism based on alleged broken promises of the past. “Trust but verify” seemed to sum up the overall mood, and VA officials said they welcomed being held accountable.

Robert Rosebrock, a Brentwood resident who has been spearheading efforts to gain housing for homeless veterans on the West LA VA campus for years, said there was still a “state of emergency” on the streets of Los Angeles. He urged VA officials to move rapidly to solve the problem.

Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced March 30 that Steve Young, Director of VA Salt Lake City Health Care System will serve as Acting Director, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System effective April 6, 2015 until the new, permanent Director is selected.

Young will oversee the delivery of health care to more than 88,000 veterans and an operating budget of $915 million.

Young has 37 years of experience with the Veterans Health Administration and was appointed Director, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System on June 21, 2009.

In this position, he is responsible for executive leadership of the health care system that includes the George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center in Salt Lake City and clinics located in West Salt Lake City, Ogden, Orem, Saint George, Price, and Roosevelt, Utah; Pocatello and Idaho Falls, Idaho and Ely and Elko, Nevada.

Young most recently served a detail as Acting Director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System in the Spring of 2014.

Young is a native of Iowa. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa, and a Master’s Degree in Public Services Management from DePaul University. He is board certified in health care leadership and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is a graduate of Leadership VA and VHA’s Health Care Leadership Institute.

VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System is one of the largest, most complex health care systems within the Department of Veterans Affairs. It consists of two major ambulatory care centers, a tertiary care facility and nine community based outpatient clinics. There are 1.4 million Veterans in the VAGLAHS service area, and more than 88,000 are served by VAGLAHS each year. The catchment area covers five counties: Los Angeles, Ventura, Kern, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo.

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