Congresswoman Norma Torres

Representing the 35th District of California
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Torres Joins VA Secretary in San Bernardino

January 25, 2016
Press Release
ONTARIO, CA - Today Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) joined Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald in meetings with public and private sector leaders working to address veterans homelessness in San Bernardino County.  Secretary McDonald’s visit  to San Bernardino County kicked off his four day trip to the Los Angeles metro area.
“As communities across the nation work to meet the administration’s ambitious goal to end veterans homelessness, right here at home San Bernardino County is leading the way by implementing a comprehensive set of policies that have resulted in a significant decrease in the homeless veteran population,” said Torres.  “It is an honor to welcome Secretary McDonald to our community to highlight the strides they have made and also to ensure he is personally aware of the challenges we continue to face."  
Torres took part in meetings with an inter-agency homeless veterans' advisory board and with housing provider groups and landlords.  Topics discussed during these meetings included the veterans homeless count, the importance of bridge and immediate housing for veterans before permanent placements can be secured, and the need for increased resources for navigators who can provide one-on-one assistance to veterans.  Concerns were also shared regarding the need to work more closely with landlords to increase acceptance of HUD VASH vouchers and pet-friendly housing options as well as the need for increased cross-county coordination in providing veterans' assistance.
“The homeless veterans crisis is not unique to any one community, and it is going to take a long-term, comprehensive, cooperative approach to fully address it,” continued Torres.  “In our area specifically, we have to recognize that veterans in our region rarely stay within one city or county as they look for work or housing.  Therefore, it is vital for counties and local governments to work together to make access to assistance as seamless as possible.”

After the meetings at the San Bernardino County Administrative Building, Secretary McDonald went on to Loma Linda University where he met with university leadership, with families of San Bernardino victims, and with VA Medical Center leadership and homeless program staff.