us department of veterans affairs | WABE 90.1 FM

us department of veterans affairs

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) during a hearing at the Senate Finance Committee, May, 2013.
Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

Sen. Johnny Isakson says his relationship with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a close ally of president-elect Donald Trump, will help him push through Washington a major overhaul of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

“I know Speaker Gingrich has been involved a lot with me in the last couple of years working on it, and now that he's a close friend of [Trump’s] I'm sure he'll help us out,” Isakson said at a Veterans Day event in Cobb County.

Virtual reality headset
Alison Guillory / WABE

Virtual reality is being used in a lot of new ways.

At Emory University, researchers are using virtual reality to treat veterans who suffered sexual abuse in the military and now have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Inside a dark room, patients wear a head-mounted display, headphones, hold a joystick in their hands and sit on a chair where they can feel vibrations.

As they move their heads, they can see anything above them – like the sky, if they look down, they can see their feet.

Mel Evans / Associated Press

The Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed to pay for robotic legs that could allow scores of paralyzed veterans to walk again.

Veterans have been petitioning the VA to do this because many cannot afford the $77,000 needed to pay for the powered exoskeleton called the ReWalk. The device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014 for individuals to use at home.

VA officials tell The Associated Press that the agency sent a memorandum Dec. 10 outlining its plans to train staff to be able to provide the ReWalk.

Federal officials say a Georgia public housing authority will use more than $52,000 in funding to provide rental assistance for homeless veterans.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said in a statement Monday that the VA 's Supportive Housing Program is awarding Georgia Residential Finance $52,039 to provide 10 vouchers for veterans in need of rental assistance in the Dublin area.