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10-10-03, 02:36 PM
VA Secretary To Chair Interagency Council on Homelessness

WASHINGTON (Oct. 10, 2003) - The Interagency Council on Homelessness has
selected Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi to serve as its
chairman beginning in April 2004.

The council is composed of 20 federal agencies involved in assisting the
homeless. Last year, President Bush reactivated the council to better
coordinate the homeless assistance activities of the individual agencies and
to create strategies to end chronic homelessness. Health and Human Services
(HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson has served as chairman of the Interagency
Council since March 2003.

This month, council members HHS, the Department of Housing and Urban
Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) awarded $35 million
to 11 communities that have put together unique partnerships of providers
offering housing, health care, mental health, substance abuse and veterans
services to the homeless. VA awarded $4.6 million in grants as part of the
council's initiative.

"This unprecedented interagency cooperation reflects President Bush's
determination to include homeless veterans in our efforts to end chronic
homelessness in America," said Principi. "I applaud Secretary Thompson for
his leadership as chairman of the Interagency Council and I look forward to
continuing the council's efforts to support the president's goals."

More information about VA's homeless assistance program can be found at
http://www.va.gov/homeless on the Internet.