(WASHINGTON) — President Obama travels to Atlanta Monday, where he’ll deliver remarks at the 95th National Convention of Disabled American Veterans, concentrating on the heartbreak of veteran homelessness.
While in Atlanta, the president will tout statistics that show his administration has cut veteran homelessness nearly in half since 2010, while 500,000 veterans have voluntarily donated their health data to the V.A.’s Million Veteran Program.
At a PBS town hall in Elkhart, Indiana, in June, Obama was questioned why his administration has not spent more money to cut veteran homelessness rather than welcome Syrian refugees. The president sharply rejected the premise of the question before blaming “a Congress that for too long talks tough about patriotism and looking out for our troops and … are fine with us sending 180,000 people into war, but then when it came down to the actual veterans’ budget, it wasn’t there.”
The White House points to statistics that show veteran homelessness declined by 17 percent in 2015 to under 40,000 veterans, based on results of the 2016 Point-in-Time Count of homelessness across the country conducted in January.
The president is also expected to announce that first lady Michelle Obama will hold an event this fall to celebrate that progress and establish additional milestones in the fight to end veteran homelessness.
During his remarks Monday, the president is expected to make clear that his commitment to serving U.S. veterans “is a national responsibility and a promise that cannot be broken,” according to the White House.
“This is not a responsibility that can be shirked by offering empty words belied by policies that would leave veterans to fend for themselves,” the White House wrote in a fact sheet previewing the president’s visit. “The President will review the hard, persistent work that the Administration has done to keep this promise.”
Obama is expected to discuss health care, veteran benefits, expanding research in areas like post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, as well as the administration’s efforts to educate and employ veterans.
Later in the afternoon, the president will participate in a Democratic National Committee roundtable fundraiser at a private residence before returning to the White House.
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