News Briefs: February 12, 2016

| February 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

News Briefs


 COLA Survey — In 2015, the cost of living allowance for active duty military personnel in Hawaii significantly decreased on three out of four islands, and many questions have been raised about the COLA determination process.

All service members need to take the survey before March 1. In early 2014, only 4,800 out of 49,680 assigned active duty personnel in Hawaii participated in the survey. More Soldiers must participate in this survey in order to get good data.



FEHB — Enrollment changes in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, outside of open season enrollees, are allowed for the Self Plus One option until Feb. 29, given this addition of a new enrollment type. Visit or


Polytrauma — The VA’s Polytrauma System of Care has hit the one million mark in screening veterans for Traumatic Brain Injury, often regarded as one of the signature injuries of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. TBI symptoms such as severe headaches, memory loss, reduced executive functioning and tinnitus can range from manageable to seriously disabling, potentially limiting a veteran’s ability to work and manage daily living.

Screening veterans for TBI and helping them to deal with the condition is one of the central programs of PSC. Visit


VAPIHCS — The VA’s Pacific Island Health Care System (VAPIHCS) said, last week, that 596 homeless veterans on Oahu were permanently housed in 2015 as a result of collaboration between the VAPIHCS, Partners in Care and the Homeless Veterans Task Force. (Editor’s note: See the entire news release below.)


16 / Tuesday

ASIST — Learn to be a more willing, capable and confident caregiver to those having thoughts of suicide. Become an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training “lifeguard” in this two-day suicide first aid workshop open to all military, civilian, ombudsmen and adult family members, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Military and Family Support Center. Call 474-1999.


19 / Friday

Black History — Celebrate African-American history with the Tropic Lightning Division and the U.S. Army-Hawaii Team Equal Opportunity/EEO, 1 p.m., in Schofield’s Sgt. Smith Theater (north) and Feb. 24 at noon in Tripler’s Kyser Auditorium (south). Call 438-4962.




26 / Saturday

Earth Day — An Earth Day Festival, Family Fun Fest and Leisure Travel Service Fair takes place, 8:45 a.m.-2 p.m., at Weyand Field, Schofield Barracks. Watch this space for updates.


VAPIHCS News Release

HONOLULU —Department of Veterans Affairs Pacific Island Health Care System (VAPIHCS), Partners in Care and the Homeless Veterans Task Force announced today that 596 homeless Veterans on Oahu were permanently housed in calendar year 2015.


“This announcement is a result of the tremendous progress our community has made over the past year in addressing Veteran homelessness,” said Wayne Pfeffer, director VAPIHCS, “These are individuals who served our country, and we are proud that we have been able to connect them to permanent homes.

And congratulations are also in order to the hard work of our VA homeless programs who worked to house our veterans”.


The placement of homeless Veterans occurred as a result of a collaboration between and the Department of Veterans Affairs Pacific Island Health Care System, Partners in Care, and the Homeless Veterans Task Force. Since October 2013, these organizations have participated in the national 25 Cities initiative to end Veterans homelessness. The 25 Cities initiative stressed a coordinate approach to resolving homelessness, and emphasizes the importance of knowing homeless Veterans by name.


“Solving homelessness is a team sport,” noted Marc Gannon, Chair of Partners in Care. ”We’ve made great strides in developing a coordinated assessment and housing placement system, but still have a ways to go in addressing the significant challenges pertaining to homelessness. We need to focus on developing more affordable housing options, engaging a broader base of stakeholder groups, and strengthening our community’s full continuum of services.”


“We have achieved success by getting to the homeless Veterans in our community,” said John Henry Felix, Chair of the Homeless Veterans Task Force. “However, our work does not stop here.   To reach our goal of ending Veteran homelessness, we need to think outside of the box, and consider every possible option. One homeless veteran is one too many.”


About Partners in Care

Partners in Care is a coalition of service providers, units of local, state and federal government, funders, and community advocates dedicated to ending homelessness on Oahu.   PIC serves as a planning, coordinating, and advocacy alliance that develops recommendations for programs and services to fill needs within Oahu’s Continuum of Care for homeless persons.


About the Veterans Homeless Task Force

The Homeless Veterans Task Force was formed in December 2014 to bring together representatives from the private sector, retired military, faith-based groups, and other community leaders to work together to end homelessness among veterans.   The Task Force includes a number of different committees to address key issues related to homeless veterans, such as housing, employment, media, system re-design, faith-based partnerships, mentoring, and financial support.


About the Department of Veterans Affairs Pacific Island Health Care System (VAPIHCS), VAPIHCS is committed to providing timely access to a broad range of medical care services, serving an estimated 50,000 veterans throughout Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.
Call 433-0049 or visit






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