U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee Legislative Director Sean Ferritor (right) and Acting Director of the VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, Dr. Thomas O’Toole, discuss veterans’ homelessness after a hearing on Capitol Hill.
The U.S. Veteran Hospice Committee attended a hearing recently held by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs titled, “Ending Veteran Homelessness.” Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, welcomed two panels to Capitol Hill to testify on behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“This is exactly the type of hearing we need to see more of on Capitol Hill,” says Legislative Director Sean Ferritor. “As veterans continue to return home from conflicts abroad, it is essential that they have the tools in place from the VA to work themselves back into society,” continued Ferritor. “Because as we have seen all too often, many of these brave men and women, who’ve put their lives on the line to protect ours, are particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless.”
Without your constant participation in our program and mission, it would not have been possible to attend this important hearing. I feel confident when I say to you that your voice is being heard on Capitol Hill. Thank you for all that you have done in support of the U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee, and all homeless veterans. Thank You!
The 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held a tribute to America's veterans in the main ballroom of the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center at the Washington Harbor.
"What an honor," states Executive Director Gerald Johnson. "It was truly humbling to be recognized with my fellow veterans from so many different eras," continued Johnson. The CPAC "Salute to Veterans" was hosted by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Lt. Col. Oliver North, USMC (Ret.), and was a tribute to all the heroes who have served our country both at home and abroad with dignity and honor.
"I truly want to thank all the supporters of the U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee who made this possible for me," says Johnson. "I felt like you were being honored with me while I stood at attention in the main ballroom of the Gaylord. Without your constant support of our programs and dedication to ending what's becoming an epidemic among military veterans, this year's conference would not have been possible," concluded Johnson.
U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee Meets with House Veterans Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller to Discuss Terminally Ill Homeless Veterans
The U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee’s Executive Director Gerald Johnson, accompanied by legislative staff, met today with Congressman Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, to discuss terminally ill homeless veterans and their need for dignified end-of-life care.
“It was a pleasure to meet with Chairman Miller today to discuss the need for a network of hospice facilities dedicated to terminally and chronically ill homeless veterans,” states Johnson. “Chairman Miller has the unique opportunity to make the American people aware of a problem few speak of, and use his power as the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee to make a real difference.”
Chairman Miller accepted petitions signed by thousands of U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee supporters urging the Congressman to help enact a network of hospice facilities geared specifically towards the unique circumstances surrounding this forgotten subset of military veterans.
“I really have to thank our supporters for all of their participation in this mission,” continued Johnson. “If it weren’t for the tens of thousands of signed petitions in favor of helping terminally ill homeless veterans, our meeting today simply would not have been possible.”
Chairman Miller asked the U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee to follow up with his committee staff with more raw data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, on the issue of terminally ill homeless veterans.
“I sincerely look forward to working with Chairman Miller and his staff in the future,” says Johnson. “My dream is to one day be able to say that not one military veteran will ever die cold and alone on the streets of America, and I couldn’t think of a better ally than Congressman Jeff Miller,” concluded Johnson.
The U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee recently delivered letters of support for two critical pieces of legislation in the 113th Congress. Congressman Chris Collins recently introduced H.R. 4725, The Care for Our Heroes Act, and Congresswoman Julia Brownley introduced H.R. 4674, the Guarantee Housing for Terminally Ill Veterans Act.
“There are thousands of bills introduced in every session of Congress,” states Legislative Director Sean Ferritor. “The key is to have the support of our membership, so that our legislative team can identify the most important pieces of legislation that can help homeless veterans with terminal illnesses. Both Congressman Collins and Congresswoman Brownley
Homeless and dying veterans live on the very edge of society. Most people don’t think about them. They don’t have lobbyists; they don’t have family structures to pick them up when they are down. The simply live on the streets, afflicted with diseases such as Alzheimers, AIDS, or a myriad of chronic illnesses. Together, you and I can change that narrative.
You can help by putting pressure on Congress to finally connect the dots and create a network of hospice facilities for homeless veterans with terminal diseases. Your 2014 “Help Dying Veterans” petition will be in your mailbox in early September and it is imperative that you sign your petition and rush it back to the Committee in a timely manner.
These honorable veterans deserve a dignified way to spend their final hours, rather than dying scared and alone on the streets of this great country. We owe it to them. It’s our duty. Your 2014 “Help Dying Veterans” petition will be in your mailbox soon. Don’t let our American heroes down.