The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans President John Driscoll and board chair Patrick Ryan present the award to the Legion’s Economic Division Deputy Director Mark Walker (center) (Photo courtesy of NCHV)

Homeless veteran coalition honors Legion

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) recently honored The American Legion for its dedication to ending homelessness among veterans.

Mark Walker, the Legion’s Economic Division deputy director, accepted an award from the advocacy group "in recognition of The American Legion’s dedication to the campaign to end veteran homelessness in the United States." The presentation was made during NCHV’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., as the organization chronicled progress made in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) five-year plan to end veteran homelessness. This summer marks the halfway point in the effort.

The Legion has been actively involved in the campaign since its inception. In fact, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki used the Legion’s 2009 Annual National Convention in Louisville as a platform to publicly announce the plan.

Meanwhile, this past December, VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that homelessness among veterans had been reduced by nearly 12 percent between January 2010 and January 2011. According to the 2011 supplement to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report, 67,495 veterans were homeless in the United States on a single night in January 2011. VA and HUD considered this "a significant reduction from the previous January’s single night count of 76,329."

NCHV is a nonprofit organization billing itself as "the resource and technical assistance center for a national network of community-based service providers and local, state and federal agencies that provide emergency and supportive housing, food, health services, job training and placement assistance, legal aid and case management support for hundreds of thousands of homeless veterans each year."