October 16, 2018

Hirono Receives Meritorious Service Award from National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

Hirono is First Elected Official to Receive NCHV’s Meritorious Service Award and Public Policy Award

WASHINGTON, D.C.-  Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, was selected by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) to receive its 2018 Meritorious Service Award in recognition of her years of work to advance policies that help end veteran homelessness. Established in 1990, NCHV is the leading advocacy, resource and technical assistance center for community-based homeless veteran service providers including Hawaii’s U.S.VETS at Barbers Point.  

“I thank the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans for this special honor and for all they do to ensure veterans have access to necessary resources and a permanent, stable roof over their heads,” Senator Hirono said. “I look forward to continuing my close partnership with NCHV and organizations like U.S.VETS in Hawaii as we work together toward ending veteran homelessness in our state and across the country.”

“Senator Hirono has consistently and staunchly defended VA’s homeless programs when they have come under threat, in one case playing a key role in preventing a cut of $49 million to VA’s Grant and Per Diem program,” said Joshua Stewart, NCHV’s Director of Policy. “She has not only protected these programs, but has also led the way in increasing funding for them. NCHV was proud to award her our 2018 Meritorious Service Award.”

“U.S.VETS is pleased to see Senator Hirono recognized nationally for her tireless advocacy on behalf of Hawaii’s veterans and their families,” said Darryl Vincent, U.S.VETS’ Chief Operating Officer. “Her selection to receive the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ Meritorious Service Award is a direct reflection of the culmination of her many years of leadership in defense of crucial federal programs and funding that local providers like U.S.VETS rely on to help reintegrate homeless and at-risk veterans and their families into their communities in Hawaii and across the country. She is very deserving of such an honor.”

Senator Hirono is a longtime advocate for federal funding and policies that help end veteran homelessness. Since 2015, she has led the bipartisan effort with Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) to pass legislation preventing key federal veteran homelessness programs from lapsing as they were set to expire on September 30, 2018. Last month, provisions from the Hirono-Boozman Keeping Our Commitment to Ending Veteran Homelessness Act (S. 3419) were enacted as part of the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act (Public Law 115-251) extending seven programs run by the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Labor that provide housing, job training and health care to veterans and their families. The seven extended programs serve approximately 725 veterans and their families across Hawaii.

Senator Hirono also remains engaged with state agencies by receiving monthly information from the Homeless Veterans Task Force, which is made up of City and State agencies and non-governmental organizations actively working to address veterans’ homelessness.

In 2016, NCHV also honored Senator Hirono with their 2016 Public Policy Award – which goes to an elected official who has taken on a leadership role in creating or changing policies to support efforts to end veteran homelessness. In its award citation, NCHV credited her actions for reversing a proposed cut of $49 million from the VA’s Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program which funds grants to community organizations that provide transitional housing and supportive care for homeless veterans. Last year, the GPD program funded over 100 supportive housing beds at U.S.VETS Barbers Point. Hirono is the first individual to have received both NCHV’s Public Policy and Meritorious Service awards.