Hirono, Boozman Introduce Bill to Protect Programs Helping to End Veteran Homelessness
Critical programs set to expire September 30, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and John Boozman (R-Ark.), members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced legislation to renew a number of important federal homeless veteran programs for the next fiscal year.
The Keeping Our Commitment to Ending Veteran Homelessness Act would renew seven U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Labor programs that provide outreach and services to homeless veterans and their families. These programs begin to expire on September 30, 2017, absent Congressional action.
“Organizations in Hawaii and throughout the country are working hard every day to help ensure our country’s veterans have a permanent and stable roof over their heads,” said Senator Hirono. “We cannot allow funding for these critical programs to lapse and I thank Senator Boozman for his strong support in this fight to keep our commitments to our veterans and their families.”
“We must support our nation’s veterans by providing them with the tools and resources they need to end the cycle of homelessness. We’ve seen the success of these programs in Arkansas and all across the country to help our veterans rebuild their lives. Continuing to fund these services must be a priority,” Senator Boozman said.
For Fiscal Year 2017 to date, these programs served more than 800 homeless veterans across Hawaii.
“U.S.VETS is the nation’s largest homeless veteran service provider that commits itself to reintegrating homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in to the community,” said Darryl Vincent U.S.VETS’ Chief Operating Officer. “It is our mission at U.S.VETS to work for the day that no veteran who has given their life to protect our freedoms suffer the indignity of homelessness. Programs that provide support for our veterans have played, and continue to play, a vital role in helping us fulfill our commitment to serving those who served by bringing us closer to the goal of ending veteran homelessness.”
“The programs extended by this bill are vital in the fight to end homelessness among veterans and they have prevented tens of thousands of veterans and their families from ever becoming homeless,” said Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “NCHV applauds Senators Hirono and Boozman for their continued bipartisan commitment to protecting these critical programs that keep the momentum going as we strive to end veteran homelessness in this country.”
The expiring provisions impact seven VA and Department of Labor programs that provide outreach and services to homeless veterans and their families:
- Healthcare for Homeless Veterans: Conducts outreach to homeless veterans, provides care and treatment for medical, psychiatric, and substance use disorders, and refers veterans for supportive services.
- Grants and Per Diem (GPD) Homeless Veterans with Special Needs: Allows VA to award grants to community-based agencies to create transitional housing programs and offer per diem payments. GPD Special Needs funding assists with operating costs of services for special need groups such as women, chronically mental ill, and those with minor dependents.
- Supportive Services for Veteran Families: Funds grants for supportive services to assist very low-income veterans and their families who are either residing in permanent housing or transitioning from homelessness.
- Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans: Provides advice to the VA secretary on benefits and services the VA gives to homeless veterans.
- Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Veterans: Authorizes the VA to sell, lease, lease with the option to buy, or donate properties to nonprofit organizations and state government agencies that will use the property as homeless shelters for veterans and their families.
- Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program: Provides services to veterans including outreach, assistance in interview preparation, job search, job training, and follow-up assistance after placement.
- Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program: Provides job training and placement services to veterans who are leaving prison.
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