VA Secretary Announces Intention to Expand Mental Health Care to Former Service members With Other-than-honorable Discharges and in Crisis

VA Secretary Announces Intention to Expand Mental Health Care
to Former Service members With Other-than-honorable Discharges
and in Crisis

WASHINGTON – Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin while testifying in a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on March 7, 2017, announced his intention to expand provisions for urgent mental health care needs to former service members with other-than-honorable (OTH) administrative discharges. This move marks the first time a VA Secretary has implemented an initiative specifically focused on expanding access to assist former OTH service members who are in mental health
distress and may be at risk for suicide or other adverse behaviors.

“The president and I have made it clear that suicide prevention is one of our top priorities,” Shulkin said. “We know the rate of death by suicide among Veterans who do not use VA care is increasing at a greater rate than Veterans who use VA care. This is a national emergency that requires bold action. We must and we will do all that we can to help former service members who may be at risk. When we say even one Veteran suicide is one too many, we mean it.”

It is estimated that there are a little more than 500,000 former service members with OTH discharges. As part of the proposal, former OTH service members would be able to seek treatment at a VA emergency department, Vet Center or contact the Veterans Crisis Line.

“Our goal is simple: to save lives,” Shulkin continued. “Veterans who are in crisis should receive help immediately. Far too many Veterans have fallen victim to suicide, roughly 20 every day. Far too many families are left behind asking themselves what more could have been done. The time for action is now.”

Before finalizing the plan in early summer, Shulkin will meet with Congress, Veterans Service Organizations and Department of Defense officials to determine the best way forward to get these former service members the care they need.

“I look forward to working with leaders like Congressman Mike Coffman from Colorado, who has been a champion for OTH service members,” Shulkin added. “I am grateful for his commitment to our nation’s Veterans and for helping me better understand the urgency of getting this right.”

Veterans in crisis should call the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 (press 1), or text 838255.

Cadillac Hotel could go in new direction – Democrat & Chronicle

Cadillac Hotel could go in new direction

by: David Riley

A downtown hotel that often has served as a temporary home for homeless people may become an apartment building.

Mayor Lovely Warren is asking City Council to endorse an application for $500,000 in state funding to help turn the Cadillac Hotel into 56 market-rate apartments.

The roughly 90-year-old, eight-story building is at the corner of Chestnut and Elm streets downtown, near the city’s Midtown redevelopment project.

In a letter to council this week, Warren wrote that the developer wants to turn floors two through eight into apartments, with six studios and two one-bedroom units on each floor. The first floor would include 2,837 square feet of retail space and a lobby.

The project would cost $7.9 million, according to the mayor’s letter.

“The opportunity to redevelop the Cadillac Hotel building would serve to further revitalize Chestnut Street and contribute to increasing vitality in the East End,” Warren wrote.

It was not immediately clear who the developer is. Warren said Tuesday that the city could not release a name, but wanted to show support for the project in its early stages.

The company is listed in Warren’s letter as Chestnut Elm LLC. City spokeswoman Jessica Alaimo said Ron Zour is acting as property manager and development partner for the project.

Zour could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. An employee at the hotel declined to comment.

The Cadillac is owned by Ramji Inc., according to county records.

Warren has asked City Council to endorse a Rochester Economic Development Corp. application for funding from the New York Main Streets program to support the project. The corporation is a nonprofit closely tied to city government — its president is Baye Muhammad, commissioner of business and neighborhood development.

The developer has a purchase contract for the hotel, and has had discussions with the nearby Eastman School of Music about making apartments attractive to its students, Warren wrote.

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