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PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center is preparing to establish a new, 40-bed facility to provide 24/7 treatment services to homeless Veterans. Philadelphia is one of five cities nationwide selected to open a “Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans” facility, or DCHV.

As another step in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to end homelessness among Veterans, the DCHV will provide state-of-the-art rehabilitation and treatment services that include medical, psychiatric, and substance abuse treatment. Facility staff will help Veterans focus on living independent and healthy lives, with the ultimate goal of improving their quality of life and integrating successfully into society.

Other cities selected to open a DCHV are Atlanta, Miami, Denver and San Diego. There are currently 42 operational centers nationwide with 2,152 treatment beds, and these five additional sites will add 70,000 bed days of care per year for about 1,000 Veterans. Philadelphia VAMC officials have begun the search for a suitable site for the new facility, which is planned to open in 2011.

“Philadelphia VA Medical Center is proud to be in the forefront of this initiative,” said Janice M. Boss, Philadelphia VAMC Interim Director. “This announcement comes shortly after VA established the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans in Philadelphia.

“Safe housing, combined with job training and treatment programs, can have a very positive impact on the lives of the Veterans we’re honored to serve.”

VA staff at the new facility will include nurses, social workers, physicians, psychologists and other health care professionals. Staffing numbers and the facility’s budget are being developed as part of the planning process.

“This is great news for our Veterans because it adds a bed capacity right here in the city and is a resource we just didn’t have,” said David Oslin, MD, the Philadelphia VA’s Chief of Behavioral Health, Interim Chief of Staff, and Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “For the first time we will be able to offer the full continuum of care right here in Philadelphia, from acute inpatient care through independent living. The location will enable us to deliver care closer to where Veterans live – near their families and other community support structures. ”

The Philadelphia VAMC also manages a voucher program funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to reduce and prevent Veteran homelessness. This initiative, known as HUD/VASH, helps Veterans secure permanent housing and is showing inroads as 245 Veterans in the Philadelphia area are already benefi ting from it.