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Obama to Tout That Veteran Homelessness Has Been Eliminated in These Areas

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President Barack Obama gestures speaks during an Armed Forces Farewell Ceremony to honor outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va. Credit: AP

The state of Virginia and three cities have wiped out veterans homelessness, which is one of the key successes President Barack Obama will speak about Wednesday as the administration is still reeling from a scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Obama will deliver remarks at Arlington National Cemetery for Veterans Day, where he will also tout achievements and proposals for improvement after the waiting list scandal.

President Barack Obama gestures speaks during an Armed Forces Farewell Ceremony to honor outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va. Credit: AP (AP)

The cities that ended veteran homelessness were Las Vegas, and two New York cities, Syracuse and Schenectady.

The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness includes 800 city and county working to end Veteran homelessness, said White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munuz in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, will work with state and local government as well as landlord associations to set up affordable housing for veterans.

In the middle of the VA scandal, the White House launched the partnership with state and local governments to end homelessness for veterans. Robert McDonald was named as the new secretary to be a fixer. Obama will discuss some of those improvements to the VA.

“There were a number of problems that we have improved with the VA and Secretary McDonald is focused on those areas, and he will be in a position to make those improvements,” Kristie Canegallo, White House deputy chief of staff for implementation, told reporters.

Canegallo said that the VA has asked Congress for funding to streamline services for veterans, such as setting up a single set of eligibility requirements, and establishing better performing networks for veterans health care.

Just over two years ago, the disability backlog claims stood at 610,000. That backlog has been cut to 76,000 today, Canegallo said.

Moreover, about 7 million more appointments for health veterans were completed for veterans over the last year through both VA clinics and community health care centers. VA clinics have increased staff by about 1,400 doctors, 3,800 nurses, and 422 psychologists and 116 psychiatrists for soldiers who faced both physical injuries as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.

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