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New Push To Help Homeless Veterans

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john mica

John Mica talking to media outside the Lake Baldwin VA Clinic, in July 2014. Photo by Taisha Henry, WMFE.

The families of homeless veterans need extra attention.

That’s one of the findings of a summit Friday morning to address the needs of homeless veterans in Central Florida.

The summit brought together agencies like the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, the Orlando VA Medical Center and the Coalition for the Homeless.

U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., who organized the meeting, said he wanted to find out where there’s a need for better services:

“We have a program through [the Department of Housing and Urban Development] which has  vouchers for veterans,” said Mica.

“They give them a voucher and they can go and get their own housing, but there are very few of those vouchers available and a great need, so we found a couple of areas this morning we need to much better on.”

Mica said there’s also a gap in services for homeless veterans’ families.

“There’s some houses, some accommodation, but you can’t take a family into a domiciliary unit,” he said.

He said the new VA hospital which is opening in stages at Lake Nona will boost the level of support for veterans- particularly those who are both homeless and have medical issues.

The new VA hospital’s domiciliary ward provides round the clock care for veterans with medical and mental illnesses and addictions.

A spokesperson for the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida said the new men’s service center has provided services for 128 homeless veterans since it opened its doors last June.

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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of earthquakes, criminal trials and rugby ... Read Full Bio »