The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday that it is ending the annual Summer of Love event at the VA hospital in Phoenix, where hundreds of people who have returned home after service get to hang out and spend time with family and friends.
“The event has been a great source of fun and camaraderie with veterans, their families, and others over the last four years,” said the department in a statement.
The event has also been a source of comfort for many veterans who have been separated from their families.
It is also seen as a way to give back to veterans who are struggling financially.
The last Summer of Light event, which drew about 3,000 veterans to the VA, had to be cancelled in June after some veterans were not able to make the trip.
“While it is important to remember the sacrifices our troops make every day, the VA is proud to announce that we will not be doing this event again,” the VA said in a news release.
In addition, veterans who participate in the Summer of Hope event will be eligible for financial aid to help with rent and other expenses.
The Summer of light event was held in August to mark the end of the summer.
Veterans will be able to visit the VA health care system during the event and be able call in to get assistance.
The VA said that this year’s event will include a $100,000 scholarship fund for veterans who return home.
The program is intended to help veterans recover from the financial trauma that veterans have experienced while in the military.
Veterans who attend the event will receive a $20,000 cash scholarship to go to college.
“This year’s Summer of hope will give a glimpse of what it’s like to have that support and be part of the family during a time of stress,” the department said in its announcement.
The announcement comes as VA officials are facing criticism over their handling of the Phoenix Summer of love event.
In April, an independent audit found that veterans who attend VA health clinics and clinics of the health care agency’s regional office in Phoenix and its facilities are being billed nearly $100 per hour.
The report, released by the Center for Public Integrity, found that the VA spent $1,300 per veteran to attend the clinic.
Veterans were also not being paid their fair share for medical care, according to the report.
The auditor also found that VA managers were not properly reviewing payments made to the veterans attending the clinic, or ensuring that VA staff were providing timely and accurate medical care to the vets.
The audit was based on a review of more than 200 veterans who attended VA clinics during the Summer, including veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Puerto Rico and other countries.
The audits found that some veterans attending clinics received no VA treatment, and some veterans who received VA care were being charged excessive fees for care.
The federal government has paid out more than $8.6 billion in medical care and care for veterans since the VA started collecting data in 2009, according, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
In the meantime, some vets have been finding themselves on the receiving end of abuse.
Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that a veteran who was on his way home from Iraq was allegedly abused by a doctor who did not speak English, was not medically trained and did not follow proper protocol.
The incident has led to a nationwide investigation by the Justice Department into how the VA handles medical and welfare fraud.
The Department of Justice is currently investigating whether VA employees lied to Congress in a 2016 audit of the agency’s Phoenix program.