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Department of Veterans' Affairs

Six advocates, from the executive director of the state's veterans agency to a formerly homeless veteran, met with two lawmakers in New Port Richey this week
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Lawmakers and advocates for more than a decade have done battle with the homeless crisis among military veterans.

Their number in the Tampa Bay region has been cut by 72 percent and in half statewide, but a U.S. House subcommittee meeting in New Port Richey Monday heard that more work needs to be done.

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved Danny Burgess Jr. Thursday as the Department of Veterans' Affairs Director. Burgess is a former Pasco County Republican Representative who in November defeated his opponent by a nearly 2-1 margin. 

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The University of South Florida was listed as the most veteran friendly college in the nation by Money Magazine in 2015. But it’s not looking so “friendly” after refusing to re-admit a student veteran expelled because of a PTSD-related incident.

Special ceremonies throughout the Tampa Bay region, Florida and the nation will recognize the sacrifices of those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and those who are currently serving.

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

The new Secretary of Veteran Affairs is in Florida today to hear from veterans and talk to VA employees about his initiative to restore trust in the VA and eliminate the backlog of claims and long waits for health care.

Robert McDonald, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble, is spending his first 90 days in office visiting VA facilities nationwide to explain his reform plan dubbed Road to Veterans Day 2014.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Recent months have shown that there is no shortage of veterans who have had problems with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

More than two dozen of them brought their issues to the Temple Terrace City Hall for a veterans’ intake event on Wednesday organized by Congressman Dennis Ross (R- Lakeland).

Ross said his office has received complaints about delays getting VA medical appointments, but they’re also hearing a lot about problems with VA benefit claims.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Pinellas County Congressman David Jolly asked for and got an earful from local veterans this week.  He invited them to his office in Seminole where they shared stories of their experiences within the VA health care system. The veterans were offered immediate assistance from Jolly’s staff, VA representatives and volunteers from veteran service organizations.

And Jolly, who serves on the House Veteran's Affairs Committee, promised to take their stories back to Washington with the aim of improving the VA system.