Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Homeless Shelter to Evict Homeless Veteran Whistleblower?

VA, charity send veteran to the streets after attempts to blow the whistle on veteran's shelter

WBTV 3 News
Nick Ochsner
September 4, 2017

Armento said last-minute assistance from the VA was his last hope for staying off the streets. Now, because he has not received that help, he will not have anywhere to go.

An Asheville veteran faces life on the streets after trying to blow the whistle on questionable practices at the long-term residential facility for homeless veterans at which he was staying.
(Corey Schmidt | WBTV)
Greg Armento moved into the Veterans Restoration Quarters run by the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry in September 2015. He had recently moved back to Asheville, in need of a place to live after losing his job as a graphic artist.
The ABCCM runs the Veterans Restoration Quarters with money from a grant program administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs known as the Grant Per Diem program.
The Grant Per Diem program pays organizations a daily amount of money to provide homeless veterans room and board. Organizations that house veterans as part of the program take in roughly $1,300 each month for every veteran given food and shelter.
First, he called Senator Thom Tillis’ (R-NC) office. When that didn’t lead to a change, Armento filed a lawsuit against ABCCM in federal court.
A letter from the VA to Tillis’ office confirms the local Asheville VA Medical Center reviewed Armento’s complaints of being forced to work for free as a condition of living at ABCCM’s facility and confirmed that was a requirement to participate in the charity’s service hour program.
There is nothing in the VA’s manual on the Gran Per Diem program that says a charity participating in the program should require veterans to perform service hours as a condition of receiving room and board.
A court filing on behalf of ABCCM in response to Armento’s lawsuit characterizes the service hour requirement as “voluntary” service, even though the same filing acknowledges a document from the VRQ that clearly states service hours are mandatory for staying at the facility.
Armento didn’t get help from calling Tillis’ office or the VA but he did get an eviction notice from ABCCM.
The 62-year-old veteran has been told that he must vacate the VRQ by Tuesday, September 5, 2017.
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