WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation that protects important veteran programs and includes provisions reauthorizing veteran housing programs. U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced similar provisions in the Senate to protect federal homeless veteran programs.
“Approving this legislation is essential to fulfilling our commitment to the men and women who served our nation in uniform. Our veterans earned these benefits. That’s why it’s necessary to take action to prevent important programs like those that aim to prevent veteran homelessness, from expiring at the end of the month. We need to continue the momentum we’ve seen in Arkansas that enables veterans to get the help they need to rebuild their lives. I’m pleased to support this important legislation and will continue to advance policies that protect our veterans,” Boozman said.
“I thank my colleagues for joining me in sending a strong message that we are committed to ending veteran homelessness,” Hirono said. “Providers across the country, including U.S. VETS Barber’s Point and Catholic Charities Hawaii, will be able to continue their critical work helping veterans and their families to get off the streets and into stable homes.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016 reauthorizes the following programs that Boozman and Hirono introduced in legislation introduced in July:
Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV): Through HCHV, VA medical center staff conduct outreach to homeless veterans, provide care and treatment for medical, psychiatric, and substance use disorders and refer veterans for supportive services.
Grants and Per Diem (GPD) for Homeless Veterans with Special Needs: GPD for homeless veterans with special needs targets GPD funds to specific groups of veterans, including women, elderly veterans, terminally or mentally ill veterans and veterans with children.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF): SSVF 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. Eligible services include assistance with rent, utility or moving costs, outreach, case management and help with obtaining VA and other mainstream benefits.
Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans: A committee created by law made up of veteran service organizations and service providers to provide advice to the VA secretary on benefits and services the Department gives to homeless veterans.
Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Veterans: The VA is authorized 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 (HVRP): HVRP grantees provide services to veterans including outreach, assistance in interview preparation, job search, job training and follow-up assistance after placement. A separate HVRP targets women veterans and veterans with children.
Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program: Grantee organizations through the Incarcerated Veterans Transition program provide job training and placement services to veterans who are leaving prison.