WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Jon Tester (D-MT), members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced legislation to fight veteran homelessness by reauthorizing current programs and clarifying qualifications for existing housing assistance benefits.
This legislation clarifies that veterans who receive housing assistance under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program and Native American veterans participating in the Native American Housing Assistance program, are eligible to receive valuable assistance such as job training under the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP).
Currently, if a veteran qualifies for housing under one of these programs, the Department of Veterans Affairs no longer considers them “homeless,” and does not allow them to participate in HVRP.
“Getting a veteran into housing is only one step in the process. They also need training and assistance to help them secure stable employment so that they never again return to being homeless. The bill I am introducing with Senator Tester aims to end the cycle of homelessness amongst some of our veteran population by eliminating the hurdles they face to getting the affordable housing and job training assistance they earned,” Boozman said.
“We must make investments on behalf of the veterans who have honorably served our country but fallen on tough times. This legislation will help to address their critical housing needs and receive valuable job training that will help them get on their feet and secure gainful employment. It’s about doing right by those who have bravely served our country,” Tester said.
The Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP) Clarification and Reauthorization bill would:
- Extend veteran reintegration programs for five years
- Extend the homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children reintegration program for five years.
- Clarify that veterans participating in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program are also eligible for HVRP.
- Clarify that American Indians participating in Native American housing assistance program are also eligible to participate in HVRP.
This legislation has the support of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.