State Veterans Home tries to Coverup Over-Charging Homeless Veterans.

Peter Gravett, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

Peter Gravett, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

Peter Gravett,  being Sworn-in as Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

Peter Gravett, being Sworn-in as Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

Todd Irby, Deputy Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs and Chief Counsel  of Legal Affairs.

Todd Irby, Deputy Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs and Chief Counsel of Legal Affairs.

Swearing-in of Todd Irby, Deputy Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs and Chief Counsel  of Legal Affairs.

Swearing-in of Todd Irby, Deputy Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs and Chief Counsel of Legal Affairs.

Thomas Bucci, the new Senior Administrator of Veterans Home of California West Los Angles being Sworn-in on October 03, 2014.

Thomas Bucci, the new Senior Administrator of Veterans Home of California West Los Angles being Sworn-in on October 03, 2014.

Julian Manalo, Deputy Administrator of Veterans Home of California West Los Angeles.

Julian Manalo, Deputy Administrator of Veterans Home of California West Los Angeles.

(Be sure to click onto the Related Stories Links at the end of this Story.)

by Terry Richards

LOS ANGELES, CA – The State Veterans Home of California West Los Angeles (“CALVET HOME WLA” or “the Home”) a Division of the California Department of Veterans Affairs is a “recipient” of the VA’s Grant and Per Diem Program who are being paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) a “per diem” rate of $43.32 per day per Veteran (“participant”) for operating a “Supportive Housing”/ Temporary Housing Program (“THP”) for Homeless Veterans under the VA’s Grant and Per Diem Program which clearly states that “recipients” are only permitted to charge Veteran “participants” with incomes an amount not to exceed 30% of their income per month. Yet, the California Department of Veterans Affairs headed by Secretary Peter Gravett and Deputy Secretary Todd Irby took it upon themselves to Violate Federal Regulations and swindle homeless Veterans by charging them 47.5% of their income per month.

So when this Writer made inquiries by email in October of 2014 to Secretary Gravett, and Deputy Secretary Irby who is also Chief Counsel of Legal Affairs asking them to provide this Writer with:                                                                                                                 “The original agreement between the VA and the VETERANS HOME OF CALIFORNIA WEST LOS ANGELES as well as any new agreements made in connection with the HOUSING PROGRAM (THP) for homeless Veterans at said VETERANS HOME”; and “Documentation as to how said VETERANS HOME can charge 47.5% of a Veterans income for rent when federal regulations attached hereto regulating GRANT PER DIEM states that no more than 30% can be charged”., but instead of just telling the truth, Gravett and Irby came up with all kinds of excuses and reasons as to why they should not and did not have to respond to this Writer’s Legal inquiry, including but not limited to the fact that this Writer requested said documents pursuant to the Federal Government’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) rather than the California Public Records Act.

Then when Gravett and Irby finally responded to this Writer’s request for said evidence in a letter dated October 21, 2014, they said in pertinent part:                  “Given the potentially large number of records to be reviewed and produced in response to the request, I am writing to inform you that Calvet is exercising its right, under Government Code section 6253(c) (the California Public Records Act), to extend the initial October 30, 2014, responsive deadline for not more than fourteen days. Thus, Cal Vet will respond to your public records request on or before November 13, 2014”.

Letter of October 21, 2014 from Todd Irby.

Letter of October 21, 2014 from Todd Irby.

November 13, 2014 came and went but this Writer waited until November 19th and when no documents came by either email or regular U.S. Mail this Writer emailed Gravett and Irby asking for said records once again. Gravett’s and Irby’s response was to send me a cover letter dated Nov 21, 2014 and a letter dated July 21, 2014 from the former U.S. Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson and addressed to Brenda Manke, the then Senior Administrator of “CALVET WLA”, and which only stated “the Home” was approved for “per diem”, nothing was mentioned about “CALVET WLA” being granted an exception to the 30% Rule to charge 17.5% more or 47.5% of Veterans’ income. That’s because there are no exceptions to the 30% Rule permitted pursuant to The Final Ruling of 2013. Writers Note: What happened to all the potentially large number of records to be reviewed and produced in response to my request for which they needed the 20-day extension??? Click to read CALVET letter of July 21, 2014 from Sloan Gibson to Brenda Manke Approving Per Diem

Cover Letter of November 21, 2014 from Todd Irby,

Cover Letter of November 21, 2014 from Todd Irby,

Read the Final Ruling in part or in full for yourself. https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/02/25/2013-04222/va-homeless-providers-grant-and-per-diem-program

The reasons for the above said excuses and reasons are now very apparent in that Gravett and Irby wanted to cover-up their Fraudulent Crime of not only Defrauding the U.S. Government’s Grant and Per Diem Program but also Defrauding homeless Veterans as well. The FBI needs to investigate this matter to find out where and/or to whom all those extra funds went???                                (Authority): 38 U.S.C. 501 § 61.82 Participant fees for supportive housing:                                                                             (a) Each participant of supportive housing may be required to pay a participant fee in an amount determined by the recipient, except that such participant fee may not exceed 30 percent of the participant’s monthly income after deducting medical expenses, child care expenses, court ordered child support payments, or other court ordered payments; nor may it exceed the program’s set maximum rate or the HUD Fair Market Rent for that type of housing and its location, whichever is less. The participant fee determination and collection process/procedures should be documented in the grant recipient’s operating procedures to ensure consistency, fairness, and accuracy of fees collected. The participant’s monthly income includes all income earned by or paid to the participant.

Effect of the “Final RulemakingEffective Date: This final rule is effective March 27, 2013:                                                                                                                  Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as revised by this final rulemaking, represents VA’s implementation of its legal authority on this subject. Other than future amendments to this regulation or governing statutes, no contrary guidance or procedures are authorized. All existing or subsequent VA guidance must be read to conform with this rulemaking if possible or, if not possible, such guidance is superseded by this rulemaking.

Here’s are examples of the impact in dollars to homeless Veterans that the extra 17.5% of a Veterans income/with a $2,400 “Cap” can be. In using the 30% Rule, if a Veteran “participant” whose income is $1,000 per month the Veteran is only required to pay “the Home” 30% of his or her income (after deducting medical expenses, child care expenses, court ordered child support payments, or other court ordered payments) pursuant to United States Code. Yet, “the Home” is charging Veterans who have an income of $1,000 to pay $475 or a $175 more per month than the United States Code and the “Final Ruling” permits. In just 6-months that’s $1,050 more. And if the Veteran stayed for the entire 2-year limit that would be $4,200 more for the Veteran. Money that could be used for an “emergency fund” or expenses for his or her new apartment like furniture, bedding, appliances, dishes, silverware, and Dental expenses, among other things, because the VA does not cover that expense after leaving Homeless Programs.

So let’s “cut to the chase” of how much money “CALVETS WLA” actually gets each month that this Writer knows about so far??? They get $43.32 per diem in a 31-day month = $1,342.92 + $475 from a typical Veteran “participant” with an income of $1,000 per month and “the Homes” total income derived from these Veterans is $1,817.92. And to add insult to injury, “the Homes” monthly rent payment “cap” for this Program is $2,400. So what this means is that Veterans who find a high-paying job with the VA or in Private Industry will pay 47.5% up to the first $5,052.63 of their monthly income. $47.5% of $5,052.63 = $2,400. This Writer recommends that the cap/maximum rent charged Veterans should be $600 per month.

The same United States Codes also forbids “recipients” of “per diem” to endeavor to charge rent to Veterans without any income when they are first admitted to the Program.

The above wrongful actions by “the Home” not only Violates the above said Code but also Violates “the spirit” of Programs like this which is to allow Veterans to save about 70% of their income (Minus costs for personal hygiene necessities, cell phone, occasional socializing outside of “the Home, etc.) in order to help make a smooth transition to “permanent housing”. In the instant case Veterans would only be able to save 52.5% of their income.

Therefore, based upon all of the all the evidence herein, the California Department of Veterans Affairs/“CALVETS WLA” must refund to Veterans the 17.5% over-charge for each month these Veterans were over-charged since the date this Program began, and regardless of whether these Veterans are still in the Program of not. These “refunds” are due and payable immediately!!!

(Continuation of): (Authority): 38 U.S.C. 501 § 61.82 Participant fees for supportive housing:                                     (b) Retroactive benefit payments from any source to program participants, for the purpose of this part, may be considered income in the month received and therefore may be used in calculating the participant fee for that month.

(c) Participant fees may be used for costs of operating the supportive housing or to assist supportive housing residents’ move to permanent housing, and must have a therapeutic benefit.

(d) In addition to a participant fee, recipients may charge residents reasonable fees for extracurricular services and activities (extracurricular fee) that participants are not required to receive under the terms of the grant award, are not paid for by VA per diem, or provided by VA. Extracurricular fees must be voluntary on the part of the participant.

(e) In projects funded under this part where participants sign agreements, VA treats the costs associated with participant eviction to be as unallowable.

(f) Use of participant agreements.

(1) Participant agreements must be between the grant recipient of record and the program participant.

(2) Participant agreements must be part of a therapeutic plan to increase self-determination and responsibility.

(3) Participant agreements must include a clause that allows program participants the ability to break the lease or program agreement without penalty for medical or clinical necessity.

(4) Participant agreements may not be used to exclude homeless veterans with little or no income from the program.

(5) Participant agreements and conditions must be fully disclosed to potential participants and acknowledged in writing by both parties.

Also pursuant to “per diem” Federal Regulations providers must agree to keep Veterans up to 2-years. But as of at least July 09, 2014, when Veterans were being processed by “the Home’s” Admissions Department of Veterans were being advised that they could only stay up to 1-year. (Authority): 38 U.S.C. 501 § 61.2 – Supportive housing means housing with supportive services provided for homeless veterans that:   (1) Is not shelter care, other emergent housing, or housing designed to be permanent or long term (more than 24 months), with no requirement to move; and(2) Is designed to either:(i) Facilitate the movement of homeless veterans to permanent housing within a period that is not less than 90 days and does not exceed 24 months, subject to § 61.80; or (ii) Provide specific medical treatment such as detoxification, respite, or hospice treatments that are used as step-up or step-down programs within that specific project’s continuum.

Staff were also advising Veterans that they were no longer eligible for HUD-VASH Section 8 Choice Vouchers for Permanent Housing because they were residing at a State Veterans Home. This is not the case at all, since this California State Veterans Home accepted to receive “per diem” from the Federal Government for providing a “Supportive Housing/ Temporary Housing Program for Homeless Veterans (Emphasis on “Temporary”) Veterans are still considered “Homeless” when they participate in Programs like this whose duration does not exceed 24-months and/or not considered “Permanent”. Homeless has the meaning given that term in section 103 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11302(a).

Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501 § 61.2 Supportive services—general. In order for recipients of “per diem” like the Veterans Home of California West Los Angeles to receive “per diem”, they must provide homeless Veterans with the following Supportive services:                                                                                                           (a) Recipients must design supportive services. Such services must provide appropriate assistance, or aid participants in obtaining appropriate assistance, to address the needs of homeless veterans. The following are examples of supportive services:

(1) Outreach activities;

(2) Providing food, nutritional advice, counseling, health care, mental health treatment, alcohol and other substance abuse services, case management services;

(3) Establishing and operating child care services for dependents of homeless veterans;

(4) Providing supervision and security arrangements necessary for the protection of residents of supportive housing and for homeless veterans using supportive housing or services;

(5) Assistance in obtaining permanent housing;

(6) Education, employment counseling and assistance, and job training;

(7) Assistance in obtaining other Federal, State and local assistance available for such residents including mental health benefits, employment counseling and assistance, veterans’ benefits, medical assistance, and income support assistance; and

(8) Providing housing assistance, legal assistance, advocacy, transportation, and other services essential for achieving and maintaining independent living.

(b) Supportive services do not include inpatient acute hospital care.

Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501 § 61.33 Payment of per diem.

(a) General. VA will pay per diem to the recipient for those homeless veterans:

(1) Who VA referred to the recipient; or

(2) For whom VA authorized the provision of supportive housing or supportive service.

(b) Rate of payments for individual veterans. The rate of per diem for each veteran in supportive housing shall be the lesser of:

(1) The daily cost of care estimated by the per diem recipient minus other sources of payments to the per diem recipient for furnishing services to homeless veterans that the per diem recipient certifies to be correct (other sources include payments and grants from other departments and agencies of the United States, from departments of local and State governments, from private entities or organizations, and from program participants); or

(2) The current VA state home program per diem rate for domiciliary care, as set by the Secretary under 38 U.S.C. 1741(a)(1).

(c) Rate of payments for service centers. The per diem amount for service centers shall be1/8 of the lesser of the amount in paragraph (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section, per hour, not to exceed 8 hours in any day.

(d) Continuing payments. Recipients may continue to receive per diem only so long as funding is available, they continue to provide the supportive services described in their application, and they continue to meet the applicable ongoing requirements of this part. For non-capital grant recipients of per diem only, funds will be paid to the highest-ranked applicants, within the highest-funding priority category if applicable, in descending order until funds are expended. Generally, payments will continue for the time frame specified in the Notice of Fund Availability. When necessary due to funding limitations, VA will reduce the rate of per diem.

(e) Retroactive payments. Per diem may be paid retroactively for services provided not more than 3 days before VA approval is given or where, through no fault of the recipient, per diem payments should have been made but were not made.

(f) Payments for absent veterans. VA will pay per diem for up to, and not more than, 72 consecutive hours (scheduled or unscheduled) of absence.

(g) Supportive housing limitation. VA will not pay per diem for supportive housing for any homeless veteran who has had three or more episodes (admission and discharge for each episode) of supportive housing services paid for under this part. VA may waive this limitation if the services offered are different from those previously provided and may lead to a successful outcome.

(h) Veterans receiving supportive housing and services. VA will not pay per diem for both supportive housing and supportive services provided to the same veteran by the same per diem recipient.

(i) At the time of receipt, a per diem recipient must report to VA all other sources of income for the project for which per diem was awarded. The report provides a basis for adjustments to the per diem payment under paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

RELATED STORIES LINKS

Veterans wait-listed, denied Medical Care once again!!! How many will die this time???                                       https://vnsla.com/2014/11/05/calvetvetsdeniedmedcare/

2-Deaths, Inferior Medical Care, Inexperienced Staff, Gay Bashing Plague CALVET Home                                                        https://vnsla.com/2014/10/07/bucciswearin/

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