CAMARILLO, CA - The Ventura County Veterans Fund at the Ventura County Community Foundation will award $100,200 in grants to local nonprofits that help veterans adjust to civilian life.

The awards will be presented at a public reception from 5 to 7 p.m. July 31 to seven nonprofits that meet a variety of veterans' needs, including college and career preparation and emotional therapy.

"Because these organizations are local they better understand the challenges our veterans face, and their services will yield even improved outcomes and opportunities for the returning warriors they serve," said Hugh Ralston, VCCF president & CEO.

These programs received the 2014 grants:
• $5,000 to Healing in America for the Healing the Returning Warriors program, providing individual energy healing sessions for veterans and their families.

• $20,000 to Turning Point Foundation for the H2H Housing First Veterans Project, to move chronically homeless mentally ill veterans from the streets into permanent housing, and support them where they live.

• $25,000 to Reins of H.O.P.E. for the H.O.P.E for Warriors Ventura County Veterans Services Program, providing confidential equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning sessions for veterans and their families.

• $10,000 to Oxnard College for counseling students through the "Boots to Books" program, offering support to veterans who are transitioning from the military to civilian careers, as well as their dependents.

• $25,200 to the CSUCI Foundation for the Veterans Affairs Internship Program, to offer paid internships to student veterans in their chosen field to provide critical job skills.

Representatives of each organization will give a brief presentation ontheir programs and introduce a veteran who has benefitted from their services.

The reception will take place at the VCCF Nonprofit Center, 4001 Mission Oaks Blvd., Camarillo.

Admission is free but guests must RSVP by contacting Steve Guetzoian at sguetzoian@vccf.org or 805.330.6970.

ABOUT VCCF
VCCF invests the charitable capital that drives the philanthropic engines of Ventura County. Its portfolio performance ranks in the top 11 of all community foundations in the United States for long-term growth. With total assets of more than $135 million, as of March 30, its mission is to promote and enable philanthropy to improve our community for good for ever, which it does through grantmaking, scholarships and training at its Center for Nonprofit Leadership. It owns the VCCF Nonprofit Center in Camarillo ---- a place where nonprofits and the community can come together to work together. Visit vccf.org or call 805.988.0196.

 

Click here for Attractions Spa website


 

Sacramento, CA – Among tall trees and nestled on a pillar stands El Soldado or as it has more recently been called, the Mexican American Veterans Memorial. This monument to the gallant and patriotic military service of Latino/Hispanic veterans is well on its way to receiving a much needed facelift thanks to the commitment from individuals and organizations alike. The Wells Fargo Foundation is the latest such organization to demonstrate its commitment, not just to veterans and their families, but also to the monuments that showcase their patriotic service.

“On behalf of all veterans, but especially Latino/Hispanic veterans, we are proud to accept this $50,000 donation from the Wells Fargo Foundation,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “This donation allows us to take a giant step forward in our quest to beautify and enhance El Soldado.”

California is home to approximately 1.8 million veterans of which nearly 272,000 are Hispanic/Latino. El Soldado/the Mexican American Veterans Memorial serves as a testament to the service and contributions of these Hispanic/Latino veterans. This Memorial is the only monument nationally recognizing the military contributions of Latino veterans from all branches of the military to be located on state capitol grounds.

The Mexican American Beautification and Enhancement Committee and the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) are diligently working to raise $800,000 to complete the renovations needed by El Soldado. The Memorial Committee and CalVet have established a plan that would fund and construct the enhancements in three stages at the following levels, respectively: $300,000, $500,000, and $800,000. According to their input, each stage would look like a completed memorial, but each new stage would add significant enhancements to the design or landscaping of the prior stage.

Tax deductible donations to El Soldado, the Mexican American Veterans Memorial can be sent to:
California Mexican American Veterans' Memorial
C/O California Department of Veterans Affairs
1227 O Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Shortly after the World War II armistice, a group of Mexican-American women, also known as the "Madres," banded together to create a memorial that would honor their husbands and sons who had died during their military service during the war. Beginning in 1948, the Madres launched a fundraising drive to finance the memorial. Their efforts included selling homemade tamales and conducting raffle sales at their local church parishes and other venues.

Dedicated in May 1951, the memorial consisted of a statue of a solitary infantryman. Known as “El Soldado,” the statue stood on the grounds of the Mexican American Center in Sacramento. Weathered and worn over time, El Soldado remained at this site for decades until the location was rezoned by local government. The statue was donated to the State of California with the expectation that it would become an official and permanent state memorial. In 1975, El Soldado was moved to its present location across the street from the Main (West) entrance to the State Capitol.

 


 

CalVet and the California State Fair will honor patriots during Military Appreciation Day on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at CalExpo in Sacramento. Veterans, Active Duty Military, Guard and Reserve members will be admitted to the Fair for free on that day with appropriate ID. (Those with a Distinguished Veteran Pass will be admitted for free during the entire run of the State Fair, now through July 27.)

Veterans and their families are encouraged to visit CalVet information tables to learn about the state and federal veteran benefits they have earned through military service. Those benefits can increase family income, pay for college or other types of training, provide health care, home loan financing, residential care for older and disabled veterans and much more!

More than 20 other government agencies and veteran service organizations will be at the Fair to offer information as well.

CalVet and the California Department of Human Resources will teach veterans how to transition from military service to state service during a “How to Get a State Job” workshop on the Golden 1 Stage at 11 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Additional information and personal assistance will be available at the CalVet information table.
CalVet will also host an MRE (meals ready to eat) Cooking Challenge featuring chefs from The Foundation, Blackbird Kitchen, Hook and Ladder, Rubicon Brewing, Papa Dale’s Mobile Diner and New Moon River Inn Café. Using randomly-selected military field rations and other simple ingredients provided, chefs will have just 30 minutes to create a culinary masterpiece. Members of the California National Guard will judge the dishes created. Winners will receive State Fair ribbons and bragging rights.

The CalVet MRE Cooking Challenge will take place at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. in the California Kitchen (Building B). The CalVet information tables will be located near the Main Gate entrance all day.

For more information about the California State Fair, go to http://www.castatefair.org/.

 


 

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), California Housing Finance Agency and California Department of Veterans Affairs are pleased to announce the release of the draft Program Framework (Framework) of the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention (VHHP) Program for public review and comment.

The purpose of the draft Framework is to provide preliminary thoughts on the VHHP Program design and to solicit public comment as the agencies move forward in the development of full program guidelines.

The draft Framework will be used to solicit verbal comments from attendees at the six scheduled stakeholder meetings beginning on July 10, 2014, in Oakland. The draft Framework is available on HCD’s VHHP Program website: http://www.hcd.ca.gov/fa/vets/. Additional stakeholder meeting dates and locations can be viewed on that page as well.

Please note, the draft Framework highlights specific questions on which the agencies would appreciate comments/feedback. These questions are identified throughout the document in bolded italics.

Interested parties may also submit written comments directly to hcdvets@hcd.ca.gov. Public comments will be accepted through July 23, 2014.

** Please note – The VHHP Program does not provide funding directly to individuals. If you are a veteran in need of assistance please contact the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ Nation Call Center for Homeless Veterans Hotline at 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838) or visit the California Department of Veterans Affairs’ website at www.calvet.ca.gov.

 


 

Sacramento, CA – On any given night roughly 16,000 veterans in California have no place to call home; they sleep in parks, under bridges, in their cars, in emergency shelters or on a friend’s couch. Now, thanks to the voters’ approval of Proposition 41 and the partnership of three state agencies, more veterans will have access to permanent, safe and affordable housing. The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) also announced today three stakeholder meetings to be held in July around the state to help inform implementation of the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Program.

“While California is home to nearly two million veterans, the largest veteran population in the nation, we also hold the distinction of having the largest homeless veteran population in the country,” said Peter J. Gravett, Secretary of CalVet. “With this new program and the funding approved by the voters we can finally help these veterans finish their journey home.”

The Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Program, created when Governor Brown signed AB 639 by Assembly Speaker Emeritus John Perez in 2013, is already in the development stages and the passage of Proposition 41 will provide the funding to begin helping homeless veterans in California. The ballot measure, overwhelmingly approved by voters on June 3, authorizes the issuance of $600 million in General Obligation Bonds to fund the acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of multifamily low-income permanent and supportive housing for homeless and low-income veterans and their families.

CalVet, the HCD, and the CalHFA, are already working to identify the range of needs, and most importantly, potential solutions that will help make a difference in the lives of homeless veterans and significantly improve the housing options for these men and women in California.

Stakeholder meetings have been scheduled across the state to gather input on targeting services and identifying where the demand is greatest for the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Program.

Members of the public are invited to attend these stakeholder meetings:

Date/Time City Location
July 10, 2014
10:00 a.m. Oakland Elihu M. Harris Building
1515 Clay Street
Oakland, CA 94612
July 14, 2014
1:30 p.m. Riverside California Tower
3737 Main Street, 2nd Floor
Riverside, CA 92501
July 16, 2014
1:30 p.m. Sacramento HCD Headquarters
2020 W. El Camino, Room 402
Sacramento, CA 95833

“A stable, safe, affordable sense of place is the best possible way to tell our veterans ‘thank you for your service,’” said Claudia Cappio, Executive Director of CalHFA. “We look forward to collaborating with veterans, stakeholders and other state agencies to bring this valuable program to fruition.”

As program details are developed, information will be continuously updated on a special page of the HCD website, www.hcd.ca.gov/fa/vets/ and on the CalVet website (www.CalVet.ca.gov) . More information can also be obtained by emailing PAO@calvet.ca.gov or hcdvets@hcd.ca.gov.

This program administered by the California Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Housing and Community Development and the California Housing Finance Agency is dedicated to the preservation and expansion of safe and affordable housing so more California Veterans and their families have a place to call home. The team works to ensure an adequate supply of housing options are available for our veterans and promotes the growth of strong communities. For more information, please visit http://www.hcd.ca.gov/fa/vets/.

 
New WWII Galleries Opening at the U.S. Seabee Museum

PORT HUENEME, CA - The U.S. Navy Seabee Museum will open two new galleries covering Seabee training and operations in the Atlantic Theater of World War II in honor of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944.

The two galleries are called “From Civilian to Seabee: Seabee Training During World War II” and “Seabees in the Atlantic Theater in World War II.”

“From Civilian to Seabee: Seabee Training During World War II “ allows visitors to learn about the U.S. Navy’s hastily established training camps on the East and West coasts trained tens of thousands of men, creating the construction battalions destined for advance bases overseas. In the transformation from civilian to Seabee, visitors discover the origins of the world famous Seabee logo and learn about the weapons, technical training, and organization of the various Seabee units that served in the war.

Then, just like those newly trained Seabees, visitors will get the chance to enter “Seabees in the Atlantic Theater in World War II.” Inside the massive bow doors of a Landing Ship, Tank (LST), visitors can look out onto a mural of Omaha Beach as detachments of Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officers and Seabees handled the vitally important offloading of men and materiel and ponder the invasion on June 6, 1944. Visitors will join with the Seabees as they cross over into North Africa, Sicily, and the Italian mainland, watching combat footage of Seabees under fire.

To introduce the new galleries, Lara Godbille, Ph.D., U.S. Navy Seabees Museum Director will present a lecture entitled “Seabees and Civil Engineer Corps Officers: Overlooked Heroes at the Invasion of Normandy” on June 5, 2014 from 7 – 8 p.m. at the museum. The lecture is open to the public and admission is free.

“Under development since early 2013, the staff and I are extremely proud to share this story with the Seabee community and the general public,” said Godbille. “It’s important to remember the invasions of North Africa, the Mediterranean, and France would have been impossible had Seabees and CEC officers not perfected the use of pontoon causeways and construction of artificial harbors vital to keeping the fighting men ashore supplied,” she said.

 

The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) today honored five Medal of Honor recipients whom received this recognition posthumously from President Barack Obama with a very special ceremony on the West Steps of the State Capitol. Honored and recognized on the occasion of their having received these long overdue Medals of Honor were Specialist Fourth Class Leonard L. Alvarado; Sergeant Jesus S. Duran; Sergeant First Class Eduardo C. Gomez; Private Joe Gandara and Private First Class Salvador J. Lara.

“These Medals of Honor have been a long time coming and I am most pleased that such a regrettable oversight is finally being addressed,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “These men fought for our country and their fellow soldiers with bravery, commitment and patriotism and now their descendants can receive comfort in knowing they descend from authentic American heroes.”

More than 200 people gathered to witness the honors rendered to the families of these five Medal of Honor recipients. Also on hand to honor Alvarado, Duran, Gomez, Gandara and Lara were Captain James Taylor, U.S. Army (Ret) Medal of Honor Recipient; Brigadier General Sylvia R. Crockett, California Military Department; the Honorable Richard D. Roth, California State Senate; the Honorable Rocky Chavez, California State Assembly; and the Most Reverend Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento. The California Military Department provided the appropriate music and Captain Sonya Moore, California Military Department lead the attendees in a heartfelt rendition of our National Anthem.

Following the presentation of Senate/Assembly Joint Resolutions, letters from Governor Jerry Brown and Secretary Gravett and a California state flag, the family members of these valiant five Medal of Honor recipients were welcomed at CalVet headquarters for the unveiling of the names on CalVet’s Medal of Honor Wall.

These five Californians, who served our country valiantly during WWII, the Korean War and War in Vietnam, originally received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military award. In 2002, Congress, through the Defense Authorization Act, called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran war records from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure those deserving the Medal of Honor were not denied because of prejudice for being Jewish American and Hispanic American. This review discovered that the records of several soldiers displayed the criteria making them worthy of the Medal of Honor.

Recognized during the ceremony were:

• Specialist Fourth Class Leonard L. Alvarado will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a Rifleman with Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam, on Aug. 12, 1969.

• Sergeant Jesus S. Duran will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an acting M-60 machine gunner in Company E, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Republic of Vietnam, on April 10, 1969.

• Sergeant First Class Eduardo C. Gomez will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Tabu-dong, Korea, on Sept. 3, 1950.

• Private Joe Gandara will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving with Company D, 2d Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th Airborne Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Amfreville, France, on June 9, 1944.

• Private First Class Salvador J. Lara will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as the Squad Leader of a rifle squad with 2d Platoon, Company L, 180th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Aprilia, Italy, on May 27 and 28, 1944.

Following the ceremony, family members and special guests were treated to a delicious lunch in CalVet’s Medal of Honor Hall sponsored by the California Veterans Benefit Fund.

 

SACRAMENTO, CA — Governor Jerry Brown today made several appointments to leadership positions at the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

Nancy Bien, of Camarillo, has been appointed skilled nursing facility administrator at the Veterans Home of California, West Los Angeles. Bien held multiple positions at the Los Angeles Jewish Home from 2008 to 2014, including administrator in training, residential care facility for the elderly administrator, assistant to the administrator and director of nursing. She was long-term consultant on Social Security Systems for the United Nations Development Programme in China from 1997 to 1999 and an independent consultant from 1993 to 2003.

Julian Manalo, of Corona, has been appointed deputy administrator at the Veterans Home of California, West Los Angeles. Manalo has been a medical administrator and major in the California Air National Guard since 2008. He was a homeland response force observer, controller and trainer for the National Guard Bureau Joint Staff, Office of the Joint Surgeon in 2013, an operations and training officer in the California Air National Guard Homeland Response Force from 2010 to 2013 and residential care facility for the elderly administrator at the Village Homes of Moreno Valley from 2006 to 2012. Manalo served as a captain in the California Army National Guard from 1999 to 2008 and fire chief and emergency management coordinator at the California Department of Mental Health Patton State Hospital from 1995 to 2008.

Paul Sullivan, of Cedar Park, Texas, has been appointed deputy secretary of communications at the California Department of Veterans Affairs. Sullivan has been managing director of public affairs and veterans outreach at Bergmann and Moore LLC since 2012. He was executive director at the National Organizations of Veterans' Advocates from 2011 to 2012, executive director at Veterans for Common Sense from 2006 to 2011 and lead program analyst in Veterans Benefits Administration at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from 2000 to 2006. Sullivan was executive director at the National Gulf War Resource Center from 1997 to 2000, armored reconnaissance specialist in the Georgia Army National Guard from 1991 to 1993 and armored reconnaissance specialist in the U.S. Army from 1989 to 1991. He served in the 1st Armored Division of the U.S. Army during the Gulf War in 1991.

JP Tremblay, who served as Deputy Secretary for Legislation and Communications prior to today’s appointment, will now serve as Deputy Secretary for Legislation and Government Relations.

 

SACRAMENTO — As we prepare to honor the men and women who died protecting our freedom this Memorial Day, the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) and the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers (CACVSO) are launching the “If you served, you earned” campaign to help connect the state’s military veterans with the benefits and services they’ve earned.

“After honoring our fallen heroes this Memorial Day, we should not forget those who made it home,” said Peter J. Gravett, Secretary of CalVet. “Our new ‘If you served, you earned’ campaign is our way of saying ‘thank you, we have not forgotten you’ to those men and women that did come home.”

“Not all veterans are in crisis, homeless and in need of emergency help, but every veteran has earned benefits and services that can help them complete school or job training, buy a home, help send their kids to college, find a job, and much more,” said Mike McManus, Second Vice President of the CACVSO.

Both McManus and Gravett noted that there are thousands of veterans living in California that have never even thought that they would qualify for veteran benefits because they didn’t serve overseas or see combat, they may not know that they are entitled to services and programs simply because they served in the U.S. Military. The objective of this informational campaign is to change that understanding and mindset.

“Working with County Veterans Service Officers (CVSOs) around the state, we’ve established a toll-free number (1-844-SERV-VET) veterans can call to be connected to their nearest CVSO, and get information about the benefits and services they may be eligible to receive,” said CalVet Secretary Gravett.

Benefits available to qualifying veterans include disability pensions; education and training; healthcare; home loans; rehabilitation and employment services; and various burial, death benefits and healthcare may be available to dependents and surviving family members of deceased veterans.

“Anyone who served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Reserves may be eligible for benefits, even if they did not see combat,” said McManus.

In addition to the toll-free number, the campaign features TV, radio and print advertising, brochures, billboards, and other outreach materials aimed at veterans. Most of the materials are available at www.calvet.ca.gov. The CVSOs are also distributing information.

To learn more, veterans and their families should call 1-844-SERV-VET (737-8838). Media interested in partnering with CalVet on TV or radio advertising are asked to call Kelli Reid at 916-447-8186.

 

Veterans, Active Military, and Reservists are invited to attend a FREE workshop on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, highlighting information on how to enroll as a student and receive military educational benefits at Moorpark College. Discussion topics include counseling, financial aid, and registration. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet campus Student Veteran Club members and receive individual assistance to begin the enrollment and benefits process. The workshop will begin at 6 p.m. in the Moorpark College LLR (Library), Room 124, 7075 Campus Road, Moorpark, CA. Please call 805-378-1409 or email mcoutreach@vcccd.edu to reserve a seat. Free parking is available (Lot A or B recommended).

 

SACRAMENTO, CA – Getting connected to veterans benefits and local services just got easier for California veterans thanks to the launch of CalVet’s newly designed and more intuitive web site and its myCalVet feature. The myCalVet tool turns the website user experience into a customized, interactive, intention-based encounter for each user.

The new site, developed with the support of Assembly Speaker John Perez, serves as a portal through which veterans, family members and stakeholders can connect to all the veterans benefits and services available throughout the state. “The newly-designed website brings the department’s digital presence into the 21st Century,” Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Sharon Quirk-Silva said today as the new site was introduced at a Capitol news conference.

“With this new website, veterans, their families and those who work with and for veterans have a new resource that will ensure a more smooth transition from military to civilian life,” said Peter J. Gravett, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

The myCalVet tool allows website users to create a personal online profile based on their own interests and needs. Once a user logs in, the CalVet website browsing experience will be customized to their own profile and preferences. The myCalVet tool is GPS-enabled and will direct users to the healthcare, education, housing, employment, advocacy, claims assistance and other service providers nearest to them.

The myCalVet functionality also enables federal, state and local database sharing, revealing more about California’s veterans and allowing CalVet to more easily interpret state and national statistical and demographic information. The system developed in partnership with the California Department of Technology lets CalVet know who our state’s veterans are, what they need, and where they live. It is the conduit for all things veteran in the State of California.

California is currently home to nearly 1.8 million veterans, and another 30,000 are expected to return to the state every year. The new CalVet website and its myCalVet feature brings the Department’s digital presence into the 21st Century and enables CalVet to leverage technology to reach out to California’s growing number of veterans more cost effectively. The website will help veterans of every era connect with the impressive array of state and federal benefits that may be available to them and enable returning veterans and their families get the benefits and services they need to move successfully from military to civilian life.

To view the new CalVet website or try out the myCalVet feature, go to www.calvet.ca.gov.

 

Written by Brian T. Kennedy

March 2014

President, The Claremont Institute

BRIAN T. KENNEDY is president of the Claremont Institute and publisher of the Claremont Review of Books. He has directed the Institute’s Golden State Center in Sacramento and its National Security Project. A member of the Independent Working Group on Missile Defense and co-author of Shariah: The Threat to America, his articles on national security affairs and public policy issues have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, National Review, and Investor’s Business Daily.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on March 4, 2014, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

Harold Rood, a professor of international relations at Claremont McKenna College who died in 2011, was not as well known as he was influential. A soldier in Patton’s army in World War II, he taught his students that war is permanent to the human condition, and that in war it is better to win, for no one ever had to accommodate a loser. America will always have enemies, he told them, and those enemies will forever be planning and expending resources to place themselves in a position to defeat us. It would be nice if it was otherwise, he was fond of saying, but it is not otherwise. It is the way the world works.

During the Cold War CONTINUED »

 

The Hernandez family just moved out of their two bedroom apartment and into their very first home. Effrain, an Army veteran, and Valerie, an Army National Guard veteran, and their three daughters, Cecelia, and twins, Carmen and Cristine, are one of the 12 very-low income families moving into a first-of-its-kind Habitat Enriched Neighborhood™ for veterans in Sylmar, CA in April.

On April 12, 2014, Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV and the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) hosted a Home Dedication/Key Ceremony at the Sylmar Habitat for Heroes site where the families received the keys to their homes. CalVet Secretary Peter Gravett and Los Angeles City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes attended spoke at the event.

The Habitat Enriched Neighborhood™, named “Sylmar Habitat for Heroes”, was built by Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys (SF/SCV) in collaboration with CalVet. It is the first community in the nation to provide homeownership to very-low income veteran families in a neighborhood context that also provides wrap-around social services free of charge to the families. These services, provided through partnerships with other local non-profits and businesses, include financial and health education, health screenings, and self-sufficiency training. Also unique are the services provided that meet the specific needs of the veteran community. These include art workshops for trauma victims, PTS counseling, FOCUS training, and ensuring connections to all entitled military benefits.

This “Sylmar Habitat for Heroes” program was created to provide affordable homes for very-low income veterans and their families and also offer them the services and training needed to get out of poverty and move up into the middle class. Through this collaboration, low-income veterans qualify for four-bedroom homes, which they purchase using a CalVet Home Loan, a Habitat SF/SCV second loan, and a deferred silent third loan from California Department of Housing and Community.

The Habitat for Humanity second loan is the key to making these homes affordable to low income veterans. On pay-back, funds will be reinvested into Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV’s efforts to build more homes for low-income veteran families and those in dire need of housing.

CalVet selected Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV to collaborate with because of its Habitat Enriched Neighborhood model™, a model designed by and unique to the San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley affiliate. The Habitat Enriched Neighborhood™ provides veterans not only with a homeownership opportunity which they would not otherwise be able to afford given their low income status, but also with enrichment services. These services are specifically designed to empower veterans with the knowledge, education and social services they require to become healthy and self-sufficient so that they can leverage their homeownership into a more economically advanced future for themselves and their children.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV visit www.HumanityCa.org.

 

Written by Robert Spencer

It has been obvious for years that the Pakistanis have been aiding the same jihadists that the U.S. government has been giving them billions of dollars to fight. The New York Times reported on that at length back in 2008. And now we learn that Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of the ISI, the Pakistani government’s spy service, knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, and apparently so did many other top officials in the Pakistani government. Those who are surprised by this news probably also think that Islam is a Religion of Peace that has been hijacked by a Tiny Minority of Extremists.

“What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden,” by Carlotta Gall for the New York Times, March 19 (thanks to Twostellas):

…After our first day of reporting in Quetta, we noticed that an intelligence agent on a motorbike was following us, and everyone we interviewed was visited afterward by ISI agents. We visited a neighborhood called Pashtunabad, “town of the Pashtuns,” a close-knit community of narrow alleys inhabited largely by Afghan refugees who over the years spread up the hillside, building one-story houses from mud and straw. The people are working class: laborers, bus drivers and shopkeepers. The neighborhood is also home to several members of the Taliban, who live in larger houses behind high walls, often next to the mosques and madrasas they run.

The small, untidy... http://www.jihadwatch.org/2014/03/chief-of-pakistans-spy-service-knew-wh...

 
Alvarado, Duran, Gomez, Gandara and Lara

President Obama today awarded long overdue Medals of Honor to five Californians who served our country valiantly during WWII, the Korean War and War in Vietnam. Although these men received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military award back then, a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American Veterans through the Defense Authorization Act of 2002 found that these men were more than eligible to receive the Medal of Honor.

“These Medals of Honor have been a long time coming and I am most pleased that such a regrettable oversight is finally being addressed,” said Peter J. Gravett, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet). “These men fought for our country and their fellow soldiers with bravery, commitment and patriotism and now their descendants can receive comfort in knowing they descend from authentic American heroes.”

On Tuesday, May 27, 2014, CalVet will hold a special ceremony to recognize the bravery and gallantry of these patriotic Hispanic soldiers on the West Steps of the Capitol in Sacramento. Being recognized will be:
• Specialist Four Leonard L. Alvarado
• Specialist Four Jesus S. Duran
• Sergeant Eduardo C. Gomez
• Private Joe Gandara
• Private First Class Salvador J. Lara

From a White House news release:

In 2002, Congress, through the Defense Authorization Act, called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran war records from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, to ensure those deserving the Medal of Honor were not denied because of prejudice. During the review, records of several Soldiers of neither Jewish nor Hispanic descent were also found to display criteria worthy of the Medal of Honor. The 2002 Act was amended to allow these Soldiers to be honored with the upgrade - in addition to the Jewish and Hispanic American Soldiers.

Californians being awarded the Medal of Honor:

• Specialist Four Leonard L. Alvarado will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a Rifleman with Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam, on Aug. 12, 1969.

• Specialist Four Jesus S. Duran will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an acting M-60 machine gunner in Company E, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Republic of Vietnam, on April 10, 1969.

• Sergeant Eduardo C. Gomez will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Tabu-dong, Korea, on Sept. 3, 1950.

• Private Joe Gandara will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving with Company D, 2d Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th Airborne Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Amfreville, France, on June 9, 1944.

• Private First Class Salvador J. Lara will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as the Squad Leader of a rifle squad with 2d Platoon, Company L, 180th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Aprilia, Italy, on May 27 and 28, 1944.

THE MEDAL OF HONOR

The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguishes themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while:
• engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
• engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
• serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

 
Housing Authority to Build Affordable Homes, CalVet to Offer Veterans Loans

Lancaster, CA - The Lancaster Housing Authority (LHA) today announced a collaboration with the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) to offer affordable housing and home loans to veterans. Under the partnership, LHA will build the new homes, while CalVet will provide home loans to qualifying veterans.

“It is quite simply a tragedy when any of our nation’s veterans have to struggle in order to obtain affordable housing,” said Vice Mayor Marvin Crist. “This is why it is so important for state and local government to work together to ensure our veterans have affordable options when it comes to purchasing a home. We are very pleased to enter into this partnership with CalVet to better serve the many veterans in our community.”

Over the past several years, the LHA has been successful in transforming foreclosed properties that could have once blighted a neighborhood into attractive, affordable homes ready for new owners who want to help contribute to making their new neighborhood a great place to live. Now, as part of this new collaboration, the LHA will construct brand new homes in Lancaster’s more mature neighborhoods on up to a dozen vacant lots which are already owned by the LHA. These new homes will be made available for purchase through the LHA, and will be marketed to veterans. The program is expected to begin during fiscal year 2014/2015.

“CalVet is very excited about this collaboration, wherein the Lancaster Housing Authority will be building homes focused toward our veterans, and we will in turn provide loans up to the appraised value of the homes,” said Theresa Gunn, Deputy Secretary, CalVet Farm and Home Loan Division. "Through this collaboration we will be able to assist veterans in obtaining the American dream of homeownership."

The CalVet Home Loan program is designed to help veterans save money, simplify the lending process, and help them protect their investment. CalVet offers home loans to veterans at below market interest rates with low or no down payment. In addition, CalVet Home Loans has expanded eligibility. According to CalVet, nearly any veteran wanting to buy a home in California is eligible.

To participate in this new program, veterans must first qualify for the CalVet loan. The amount of the CalVet loan provided may not exceed the appraised value of the home. Veterans who are interested in obtaining a CalVet home loan may visit CalVet online at www.Calvet.ca.gov or call 1-866-653-2510.

About the Lancaster Housing Authority
The Lancaster Housing Authority (LHA) provides a range of services, housing programs and projects designed to assist in the maintenance and improvement of the quality of life in Lancaster’s neighborhoods. The goal is to make every neighborhood a desirable place to live, work and play by encouraging development and redevelopment through strategic investment of public resources. These operations work together to prevent further blight by encouraging and fostering housing and economic revitalization by: protecting and promoting the sound development and redevelopment of the community; reinvesting in older and often overlooked neighborhoods, commercial districts and downtowns; and encouraging new development at the edges of the City to be more compact and pedestrian oriented.

About the California Department of Veterans Affairs
The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) works to serve California veterans and their families. With 1.8 million veterans living in the State, CalVet strives to ensure that its veterans of every era and their families get the state and federal benefits and services they have earned and deserve as a result of selfless and honorable military service. CalVet strives to serve veterans and their families with dignity and compassion and to help them achieve their highest quality of life. For more information, visit www.calvet.ca.gov.

 

The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, and the California State Library will host a reception “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment,” in honor of Women’s Military History Week, recognized by the Governor as the third week of March. The reception will be held on March 19, 2014 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the California State Library, 900 N Street, Sacramento.

The free reception will feature speakers from the California Legislature and an awards ceremony. Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez will be recognized for his work with the Commission and dedication to helping women and girls of California. Delphine Metcalf-Foster and Brigadier General Sylvia R. Crockett will receive the CalVet Trailblazer Award for outstanding service and achievements in the military and veteran community.

“We are proud to recognize and honor California women veterans and two in particular who have made amazing contributions to our Armed Forces and to the fabric of our great nation,” said Lindsey Sin, CalVet Deputy Secretary for Women Veterans Affairs.

To register for the reception or to read more about the awardees, please visit www.calvet.ca.gov/Women/MilitaryWeek.aspx. For more information, call (916) 653-1402 or email womenveterans@calvet.ca.gov.

 

Troops based at the Kadena Air Base in Japan know how to party. On Saturday, six gay and straight service members applied some of their finest makeup and lip synced to "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" in what is believed to be first drag queen and king show on an American military base. The show was thrown in support for the base's recently formed OutServe-SLDN chapter, a nonprofit advocacy group for the army's LGBT community.

Navy Lt. Marissa Greene told Stars and Stripes she only... http://theweek.com/article/index/257285/speedreads-gay-and-lesbian-troop...

 

Los Angeles – More than 300 veterans gathered today at the California African American Museum to participate at the first Black Veterans Summit co-hosted by the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) and the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County. California is home to more than 1.8 million veterans, roughly one third of which identify themselves as minority veterans.

“We have known for quite some time that veterans and in particular minority veterans often do not apply for and receive the benefits they have earned,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “With this summit we hope to address that issue and at least some of the challenges veterans face as they transition back to civilian life.”

Attendees from various ethnic groups listened to impassioned presentations by the Honorable Will A. Gunn, General Counsel, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and California State Parks Director Anthony L. Jackson, Major General (USMC Ret). In addition, panelists held frank and open discussions with participants on employment, health care, education and housing issues relevant to today’s veterans.

“Special thanks to the Blue Ribbon Committee, the California African American Museum, our speakers and panelists and to all the veterans who took time out of their day to be here,” said Gravett. “I also encourage all veterans to connect to the benefits and services they so richly deserve and have earned through their military service by logging onto the CalVet website at www.calvet.ca.gov and the USDVA’s website at www.va.gov.”

 

Camarillo, CA - CSU Channel Islands (CI) will host an open hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 10 a.m. in the Grand Salon at the CI campus.

The Subcommittee will meet in public session to conduct an oversight field hearing on the provision of mental health care services to Southern California veterans through the Greater Los Angeles Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System. During the field hearing, the Subcommittee will examine the use of community programs and resources – including faith-based and nonprofit entities – to resolve access to care issues for veterans and their families and further actions that may be needed to increase effective and meaningful partnerships between the community and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Subcommittee will also assess the availability, use, and efficacy of alternative mental health treatments to treat veterans in need, where appropriate.

The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health has legislative, oversight, and investigative jurisdiction over the Veterans Health Administration, including medical services, medical support and compliance, medical facilities, medical and prosthetic research, and major and minor construction. Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) is the ranking member.

Limited parking is available on campus with the purchase of a $6 daily permit; follow signs to the parking permit dispensers. Free parking is available at the Camarillo Metrolink Station/Lewis Road parking lot in Camarillo with bus service to and from the campus. Riders should board the CI Vista Bus to the campus; the cash-only fare is $1.25 each way. Buses arrive and depart from the Camarillo Metrolink Station every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. For exact times, check the schedule at www.goventura.org.

For more information on House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Subcommittee on Health, visit http://veterans.house.gov/.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI’s Social Media.