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VA administrator tours Drew Park

Kern, Barcus, Murman
Vince Kern, Maria Barcus, Homeless Initiative; and Commissioner Sandy Murman

Joyce spent her years in the U.S. Air Force repairing C130s. After she left the service, her addiction spiraled and she lost custody of her children.

“Coming to ACTS and the VA was the best decision I’ve ever made,” she told Vince Kern, Veteran’s Administration deputy assistant secretary, during his recent tour of Gracepoint-ACTS Drew Park. Joyce had just completed four months living sober and planned to stay at Drew Park for a full year. She told Kern the VA could improve services for women vets by providing navigators to help women who want to regain visitation or custody of their children.

Vince Kern and Joyce
Vince Kern and Joyce

Kern’s visit was a collaboration between the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative and Gracepoint-ACTS. Kern said the VA plans to end veteran homelessness by 2015 and create a model that sustains that result.

Jann Bouchard, Drew Park program director, summarized Drew Park’s program, “We have veterans here who are 100 percent disabled. They could live anywhere because they have monthly support. They need to invest in getting better. They get that here working with each other.”