Committee’s Newsletter for December, 2011
As we start the New Year of 2012, the members of the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing would like to wish you and you’re the Happiness, Blessed and Joyful year to come. May it always be filled with the gift of life.
Well, this month has been an extremely busy one and I am glad that we can be there to help so many, so I won’t keep you from this development of the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing:
WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA (December 4 & 7, 2011) At this time of the year we all looking at what comes down who will come down the chimney in a few weeks, but there was another surprise that was in Winchester on these two dates and that was the United States Army Bands, that came to our community to help us say thank you to our veterans.
On December 4, 2011 at Armstrong Concert Hall on the campus of Shenandoah University in the heart of Winchester, we had also had a local Bluegrass group called Flint Hollow that provide performances for our audience and then the 29th Divisional Band, Clifton Forge, Virginia performed a selection of music that covered patriotic, holiday and ceremonial:
Winchester based Bluegrass group known as
a traditional bluegrass band based on the styling’s commonly heard in bluegrass music in the 1950′s. Their repertoire consists of songs from the vaults of Flatt & Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, and original compositions written by Flint Hollow’s musicians. Flint Hollow strives for a balance between that “high-lonesome” sound and a contemporary bluegrass sound that result in a truly unique approach to all of the songs they offer
Mandolin & Vocals – Vince Diem
Rhythm Guitar & Vocals – Randy Collins
Banjo – Chris Athey
Bass Fiddle – Paul Clowes
Lead Guitar / Vocals – Brian Brewer
The 29th US Army Divisional Band, Clifton Forge, Virginia
The 29th Division Band is a Virginia Army National Guard Unit that is currently located in Clifton Forge, VA. Our unit currently serves around 80 missions per year by utilizing one or more of many different groups. It is comprised of a rock band, concert band, jazz band, and small musical support teams. We are made up of 50+ members from all areas of the state and even have some members who are living outside of the state of Virginia.
The Band originated in Roanoke in 1922 as a section of the 116th Infantry Brigade’s Service Company. But in October 1943, it was inducted into federal service as part of the “Blue and Gray” 29th Division (so called because it included National Guard units from Maryland (Union Blue) and Virginia (Confederate Gray)).
We were also honored to have with us for the Event, Ms Kourtney Marie Ginn, 2012 Miss Apple Blossom, who was just two weeks earlier was crowned at her ceremony. She had enlightened the audience with her platform that she feels so strong about “Advocating for the Arts”.
We will be having and seeing Kourtney in some of our future Event.
Congratulation and Best wishes for your reign as
Massanutten Military Academy Color Guard
Cadet Lousia Stanwich, Randolph Academy
As we finished this Event we had to get it together as in 3 days we were at the Patsy Cline Theater and had our second concert this time we had “Flint Hollow, but they were second in line as we had the Band of the Nation’s Capital Ensemble. Oh, the weather on Sunday was great, but on Wednesday evening we had to have of course winter, rainy with snow, but even though it started a little later due to some of the musicians getting held up in traffic, but as they say the show went on
Here are our Masters of Ceremonies for the Events:
WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA (December 17, 2011) There are many people that are having a real struggle in these economic times, and there are many that have no places to live or to have someone that cares about them and they are in homes that are always overcrowded and there are so many boys and girls that have just really have no other place to go.
Every year an organization of men here in the City of Winchester known as the Knights of Columbus have a very special time and the sharing lots of Love and Joy for all these boys and girl with their Annual “Veterans Children Event”. If you were to come by they would just say, come on in, and help us share in this wonderful day, that what it’s all about. You would see children making gingerbread houses with the gumdrops and
decorating it with icing, many getting it all over themselves and playing all types of games, you would be surprised that over in the corner of the room and to our amazement a group of children young and old were playing a game that most of us over 30 to 50 years ago played when we were children called “Charades”.
Many organizations in the area help out the Knights with collections of toys and our vendors donate a variety of goods and products so everyone shares in the splendor of this wonderful event. Here are just some of the many photos taken that day so all of you can see what the spirit is all about.
Ladies & Gentlemen, Our starting players for the Washington Mystics
Well, it’s true what you hear on TV and all about the Santa’s Helpers that give to those who are in need, here is one for you here in Winchester:
Date: 12/12/2011 4:10:59 PM
Subject: Disabled Vets
To: John Lewandowski,
I would like to thank you for the reference. The bill for the other person has been taken care of. If there are any others in this area, please forward me the information.
Thank you for your help in this matter, as I couldn’t have done it without your help. It is honors to help those who have serve/served in our Military Forces, especially in their time of need. Hopefully this will help to make their Christmas’s a little more special.
Respect for Privacy
WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA (December 17, 2011) As you see on TV and hear about there are people that are called Christmas Elves or Santa’s Givers, or by another name as well, but they would pay off bills of a person’s that is less fortunate or they will provide them with a gift card so they can get food for their homes to have a wonderful Christmas, or maybe pay off a hospital bill.
It’s not hard to believe that goes on, well, I was very proud that I had a gentleman that called our organization and wanted to have a list of veterans with a little background about them and how many were in the family, as he wanted to be able to pay back their service to our country, but he wanted to remain anonymous.
So I did comply with his wishes and provided a list of 15 veteran’s families from the Winchester, Frederick County, Shenandoah County, he requested these areas and one day I received a call from him, that he close to our office and wanted to stop by our office he stopped by to meet and talk and just before he left he handed me a gift card and said you use this however you want to, so I bought items for the gift baskets so that we can help other families.
I gave the rest of the funds left on the card to a family where the mother had been suffering with cancer and couldn’t even buy her daughter a gift, will I am happy to say that now through this giving person they will have presents under the tree for her daughter and a great meal.
Many of our veterans thought it was a joke or a prank why would someone just give them a gift card to help them, and I said “Many people are very appreciative of what you did for our country and for them, keeping their families safe, they wanted to say “Thank you” in their own special way”.
To our Christmas Anonymous: You have made many of our families in the Northern Shenandoah Area have a smile on their face that otherwise would not have the Christmas for their families that they now have. You made so many people smile and I am only sorry that you didn’t hear or see their reaction, but the look on their face would have made your heart feel so warm. Your kindness and generosity for your fellow man is quite rewarding for you. From all of us at the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing and the family that you made so very happy, thank you and God Bless You.
WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA (December 21, 2011): The Post Office has a saying, “We will deliver in rain, sleet or snow”, well they have a few others organizations that have that same philosophy and they are the members of the Knights of Columbus Chapter #3572 and Assembly #1883 and the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing.
Santa’s Knights checking thing twice to see that all in right
But it was a very special day as you can see we prepared Christmas baskets for the veterans and homebound members of the Sacred Heart parish that are supported by our organizations. We had all types of items in there for them and an added surprise we were able to place a turkey & all the dressings that go with it for this holiday. Our organization came through just look at all of the items that we passed along to the veterans and homebound families. There were so many of our members that came out and made up the boxes and pack them and took their day to bring joy and happiness to our community. Here are some of the photos of preparation and delivery.
This program is put on every year that we can just to tell all of our families from our homebound that we will come and make your holiday just a little brighter. We also had the Knight do the same thing on Thanksgiving with turkeys. They delievered 30 baskets on each of the holidays
Thanks to all of our Knights that are in and those that are not in the pictures as if it wasn’t for all your hard work and time that you do for homebound members of our area, would not had the Christmas that you help provide for them. God’s Bless All of You.
FRONT ROYAL, VIRGINIA (December 19, 2011) It was a very delightful day and that’s was not just the weather aspects, but the most important thing was accomplished as a group of organizations all wanted to have in mind one thing – Our Veterans – we wanted to start at task force called Northern Shenandoah Valley Region (NSVR) Coalition for the Homeless. All of the organizations that were in attendance work daily with veterans or homeless persons in the vet Northern Shenandoah Valley, and they will work with the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing (DVCH) to seek a grant in February from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Earlier this year January, the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing held our initial community meeting at the Winchester Medical Center Conference Center to see and to obtain backing from leaders of organization that were willing to help with the veteran’s issues, had a large turnout, but were not favorably consider as the receiptants of the grant that was presented by the Veterans Administration.
The organizations that are accepting this challenge, Northwestern Community Services, Front Royal, Virginia, Able Forces Inc, Front Royal, Virginia, Knights of Columbus, Winchester, Virginia, People Incorporated, Abingdon, Virginia, two representatives from the Wounded Warrior Program, Vietnam Veteran of America, John Franklin Morrison Jr., Memorial Chapter of Winchester, representative was unable to attend due to an injury, but will be there to support our task force with their organization working with incarcerated veterans.
Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless (AACH) an organization in Northern Virginia that has 30 years of experience in homeless issues and now they want to expand to encamps the veterans population in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, they sent three representatives.
Our mission that we will be challenged with is to facilitate a comprehensive program aimed at providing affordable and accessible housing choices for disabled veterans, throughout Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region. It is our duty and obligation to serve the veterans who served our country with pride and honor, but returned home with a debilitating injury and/or are disabled, with the current economy, their homes, utilities, any issues that they will face not to be homeless. Our vision for the future is to utilize available programs such as VA housing loans, federal and state grants, and other permanent financing tools to assist veterans in their efforts to realize a dream of obtaining a new, accessible home and becoming INDEPENDENT.
Our challenges will be many and hope successful, but we need the veteran to want us and to allow us to assist them, we want the community organizations to step up and provide us with Letters of Support and to state exactly what type of support that they are willing to do for our veterans that will come through the task force when we are successful in obtaining the grant. We will be seeking personnel to help us from the community and will let you know when this becomes available.
Department of Veteran Affairs Key Terms:
1. How does the Program define a “Veteran”?
A “Veteran” is defined as a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released there from under conditions other than dishonorable.
2. How is “Veteran family” defined?
Veteran family means a veteran who is a single person or a family in which the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household, is a veteran.
3. What does “very low-income Veteran family” mean?
Very low-income veteran family means a veteran family whose annual income, as determined in accordance with 24 CFR 5.609, does not exceed 50 percent of the median income for an area or community, as will be adjusted by VA based on family size and as may be adjusted and announced by VA in the Notice of Fund Availability based on residency within an area with unusually high or low construction costs, fair market rents (as determined under section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f)), or family incomes. Unless VA announces otherwise in the Notice of Fund Availability, the median income for an area or community will be determined using the income limits most recently published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for programs under section 8 of the United
States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f).
4. What does “occupying permanent housing” mean?
A very low-income veteran family will be considered to be occupying permanent housing if the very low-income veteran family:
(i) Is residing in permanent housing;
(ii) Is homeless and scheduled to become a resident of permanent housing within 90 days pending the location or development of housing suitable for permanent housing; or
(iii) Has exited permanent housing within the previous 90 days to seek other housing that is responsive to the very low-income veteran family’s needs and preferences.
5. What is the definition of “permanent housing”?
“Permanent housing” means community-based housing without a designated length of stay.
Examples of permanent housing include, but are not limited to, a house or apartment with a month-to-month or annual lease term or home ownership.
6. What is a “NOFA”?
A “NOFA” is a Notice of Fund Availability, which is a document that VA will publish in the Federal Register to announce the availability of grant funds for the SSVF Program. The NOFA will describe the location of the grant applications; the date, time, and place for submitting completed applications; the estimated amount and type of funding available; and other information and requirements for the use of the grant funds.
7. Who can receive supportive services under the Program?
To receive supportive services under this program, you must be:
A. A member of a Veteran family: A Veteran family is defined as a single person or a family in which the head of household or the spouse of the head of household is a Veteran.
B. Very low-income: Your household income does not exceed 50% of area median
income (as adjusted).
C. “Occupying Permanent Housing:” You either (i) are residing in permanent housing; (ii) are homeless and scheduled to become a resident of permanent housing within 90 days pending the location or development of housing suitable for permanent housing; or, (iii) has exited permanent housing within the previous 90 days to seek other housing that is responsive to your needs and preferences.
8. Are Veterans who are single (not part of a family) eligible?
Yes. The definition of “Veteran family” used in the Program includes Veterans who are single and families in which the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household, is a Veteran.
9. What income limits apply to participants under the Program?
To receive supportive services, a Veteran family’s annual income cannot exceed 50% of the area median income.
10. Can Veterans with/without disabilities be served under a Program grant? Can Veterans that have/do not have mental health or substance abuse issues be served under a Program grant?
To receive supportive services, a person must (i) be a Veteran who is a single person, or part of a family in which the head of household or the spouse of the head of household is a Veteran; (ii) have less than 50% area median income; and (iii) fall within one of the three categories of “occupying permanent housing”. Disabilities, mental health or substance abuse issues do not uniquely qualify or disqualify someone from receiving supportive services under the Program.
11. Can families who have a head of household serving on active duty military be served by? the Program?
No, to be eligible for supportive services, the recipient must be a Veteran or a member of a family in which the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household, is a Veteran. A Veteran is someone who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released there from under conditions other than dishonorable.
12. If a Veteran gets divorced while family members are receiving supportive services, must those family members stop receiving supportive services?
No, if a Veteran becomes absent from the household while other members of the family are currently receiving supportive services; the family members can continue to receive supportive services for a grace period. The grace period time will be set by individual grantees and cannot exceed one year.
13. Please explain what category (2) of the “occupying permanent housing” definition means. What does “scheduled” mean?
Category 2 of the “occupying permanent housing” definition is homeless and scheduled to become a resident of permanent housing within 90 days pending the location or development of housing suitable for permanent housing. To be “scheduled,” a plan must be in place for the Veteran family to move into permanent housing within 90 days. The plan does not necessarily mean that a lease must be in place, but the plan must be concrete enough that a grantee could certify that a plan is in place for the Veteran family to move into the permanent housing within
14. Where would grantees expect to identify very low-income Veteran families residing in? permanent housing who are at-risk of homelessness?
To begin, you may want to look at experiences HUD grantees had implementing the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (“HPRP”). Other resources include housing courts; landlords; rental agencies; PHA waiting lists; churches and other places of worship; domestic violence agencies; boards of education (assistance in identifying children who have been absent from school); legal aid organizations; groups assisting people in foreclosure; energy assistance agencies; and, welfare offices among other places. There are two other areas that may also be important resources to identifying those at risk: (1) VA Medical Centers, and (2) Veterans Benefit Administration offices, which often work with Veterans who identify themselves as in distress and need additional support.
As you see above the challenges will be great and we will be required to assist wherever and whenever is needed, can we all count on you??????????
WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA (December 27, 2011) Many time throughout the year I receive a call about where is a charity that I can send a donation to and I try to provide them with all the information that I could. Well, I heard on TV this morning that a website was developed for you to check and see who you want to donate to and what is there track record. Here is there website:
Charity Navigator, America’s leading independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability and Transparency of America’s largest charities.
Hope this is a help to all that want to donate their hard earned funds to a charity to help others.
One final note to this large December Edition of the Newsletter, I as the Chairman was given a Christmas gift, look at what I am talking about:
Welcome to the Kevin Ball Band web site.
KBB provides searing power blues & rock, fat 3 part harmonies and lyrical soulful guitar playing…
Blues fans all over the region are raving about this smokin’ hot trio!
Come to a live show to see for yourself!
We are proud to announce that we have taken on Disabled Veterans Housing Committee on Housing as an important cause that we will be focusing on in the coming year.
We are in talks currently about fund raising concert dates for 2012- stay tuned for the dates which should be up soon!
Click the link provided to learn more about this organization or to donate.
WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA (December 28, 2011)With our economic situation in the world today, there are times that lots of people just want to give up as they are so frustrated that they can’t enough having enough food on their plate because the prices have soared and the dollar just doesn’t stretch that far anymore for their family. Here is a story that happened to one of our very own Committee member.
While shopping at the Martin’s store on Pleasant Valley here in Winchester, I was behind a woman who was obviously in distress because she only had so much to spend on her groceries. She told the cashier that she had to take out of her basket a small ham because she had run out of money.
I asked her if she had served in the military, and she replied no, but her husband, father, and two brothers had all served in the military. Her husband has passed away two months ago.
I handed the cashier a $10 gift card and told him to use all of it for her groceries. She began to cry and thanked me for my kindness. Our members knows what he had done for this lady was a great thing.
As you can see that a little kindness can stretch a mile for someone that really needs it, so let’s all see what we can do for our fellow brothers & sisters out there. I can remember that I was in that ladies shoes a few years back myself, so I know how she felt. God Bless us All.
I can say so much about what has happen this month and there are more things coming in the New Year, we are keeping our promise that we want to get every homeless veterans into housing and we are having more and more concerts for the community, so please stay tune to our website for what’s to come.
Happy New Years to All