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Senators Hirono & Crapo Lead Effort to Fund Homeless Veteran Support Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) led a bipartisan group of 28 Senators urging robust funding for the Supporting Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), Grant and Per Diem (GPD), and Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) programs for Fiscal Year 2018. These important federal programs provide critical services and housing for veterans and their families experiencing homelessness.

The Senators wrote:

“The SSVF, GPD, and HUD-VASH programs are central to federal efforts to ending veteran homelessness. These unique programs support communities across the nation providing critical services and housing for veterans and their families. As we work towards the goals of ending veteran homelessness, providing sufficient funding to the SSVF, GPD, and HUD-VASH programs will allow for continued momentum and progress.”

“Homeless prevention and rapid rehousing funding through the VA's SSVF program has been instrumental in supporting the veterans in our state,” said Darryl Vincent, Chief Operating Officer, U.S.VETS - Barber's Point. “This fiscal year alone, to date, we have served 362 veteran households and supported 85% in their transition to permanent housing. The effectiveness of this service delivery model is essential to ensuring that we continue to work towards decreasing the number of homeless veterans who are still in need of our assistance. Because of Senator Hirono's advocacy for this program, and through community partnerships, we are hopeful that this funding will continue to impact the lives of more veterans and their families.”

“In partnership with communities across the country, the GPD, SSVF, and HUD-VASH programs have resourced community service provider efforts to successfully reduce veteran homelessness by nearly 50% since 2010,” said Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “However; there were still nearly 40,000 homeless veterans in 2016, with just over 13,000 of them unsheltered. Work remains to get every last one of them into permanent housing, a feat that would be near impossible without the dedicated support of these programs.”

Senators Hirono, Crapo, Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Gary C. Peters (D-Mich.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), James E. Risch (R-Idaho), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Margaret Hassan (D-N.H.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) urged the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies to continue strong funding for the SSVF, GPD, and HUD-VASH programs.

Click here to download a copy of the letter.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), since 2009, the number of homeless veterans has been reduced by about 50 percent. However, according to HUD’s most recent Point-in-Time Count, there are currently 40,000 veterans experiencing homelessness nationwide on any given night, many of whom could benefit from services provided by these programs. Although progress has been made, having even a single veteran experiencing homelessness is one too many.

Last year, Senator Hirono successfully passed legislation that reauthorized these programs to ensure that veterans could continue to receive uninterrupted services.