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Lovell FHCC combats Veteran homelessness at community summit

February 4, 2011

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The Homeless Veterans Summit was a unified community effort to fulfill Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki‟s five-year plan to end homelessness amongst Veterans by bringing government, business and the private sector resources together.

"This concept of „cradle-to-grave care‟ is something that VA leadership truly understands," said U.S. Navy Capt. David Beardsley, Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center Deputy Director. "We‟re here today to reinforce that commitment."

In addition to program and facility leadership, many homeless Veterans attended summit to learn more about the initiative. U.S. Army Veteran John Hale was one of the attendees.

"There was a promise made when we signed on the line to serve our country," said Hale, who was a soldier from 1976 to 1979. "That promise says that, if we‟re ever in trouble or dire straits, help would be available. This is the fulfillment of that promise."

Like Hale, U.S. Army Veteran Patrick McAleese also attended the summit to learn about community and national programs being developed to end homelessness amongst Veterans. When the economy took a downturn, McAleese had trouble finding work and finally went to his family about the problem.

"My family said, „You‟re an honorably discharged Veteran. You should go to the VA for help,‟" said McAleese, who was a soldier from 1983 to 1987. "For me, going to my family for help was the hardest part. I found it more difficult to discuss this with them than discussing it with the VA."

Both Hale and McAleese are part of the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center Domiciliary Program, aimed at assisting homeless Veterans.

"We need to be better at assessing the needs of Veterans earlier," said Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center Domiciliary Supervisor James Deshazor to the group of more than 60 who gathered for the summit. "By doing this, we can get Veterans the assistance they need sooner."

Hale and McAleese agreed that getting to Veterans early was a key component to the program‟s success. "Nobody wants to be homeless," said McAleese. "The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you can start living the life you want to live."

More information about the program can be found at, by calling the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838), or by calling the Lovell FHCC Domiciliary Program at 224-610-4842.