VA launches call center for homeless vets

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced last year his goal of ending veteran homelessness. VA took a step toward helping that cause earlier this week with the launching of its National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, a phone service that links homeless and at-risk veterans, their families and other interested parties to appropriate VA and community-based resources. Callers can speak with trained VA staff personnel at (877) 424-3838, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

VA also launched an online Homeless Veterans Chat service, which can be accessed at VA's Homeless Veterans Web page. Homeless Veterans Chat provides an outlet for veterans, their families and friends to go online and anonymously chat with a trained VA counselor. The online feature is intended to reach out to all homeless or at-risk veterans regardless of whether they are enrolled in the VA health-care system.

VA has forecasted a five-year plan to end veteran homelessness, and the call center is one of the first of the plan's initiatives.