Torres Participates in Field Hearing on Ending Veteran Homelessness
ONTARIO, CA – Today, Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) took part in a field hearing at Riverside City College on reducing homelessness among veterans. The hearing, titled “Finding Solutions for Veteran Homelessness in Southern California,” was hosted by Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) and brought together representatives from the private and public sectors to discuss how local programs are helping to decrease the number of homeless veterans.
“No individual willing to give their life for this country should ever have to live on the streets,” said Torres, the mother of an Air Force veteran. “We owe it to our veterans to find ways to address this crisis and end the cycle of poverty and homelessness that far too many veterans face. I hope that in doing so, we also learn valuable lessons that will help us reach other homeless populations in our communities and end homelessness once and for all.”
Testifying at the hearing were Emilio Ramirez, Development Director for the City of Riverside; Carrie Harmon, Principal Development Specialist for Riverside County; Stephen Peck, M.S.W., President and CEO of U.S.VETS; Son Nguyen, Co-founder and President of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals; and Jose Rivera, a student at the University of California, Riverside.
“Both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties have seen notable reductions in their numbers of homeless vets, with numbers in San Bernardino falling 56% in one year,” continued Torres. “Today’s hearing allowed us to learn first-hand what policies have worked and in what areas we can continue to improve. One thing that was clear is that even the best policies will be ineffective if we don’t know how to target our services to those who need them most. Riverside County in particular has made impressive strides in identifying and keeping track of at-risk veterans, and their efforts can serve as a model to other communities in the region and throughout the country as they work to meet the goal set by the White House and the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2009 to end veterans’ homelessness.”