WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Jon Tester (D-MT), senior members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced legislation to strengthen job training for at-risk veterans and fight veteran homelessness.
The Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program Improvement Act stipulates that veterans who receive housing assistance under Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), Native American Housing Assistance, and Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) programs 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.
“The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program is an important resource to breaking the cycle of veteran homelessness. We need to build on the accomplishments of this proven program and provide our veterans with the training and tools they need for long-term success. I am pleased to have Senator Tester continue to join me in in this fight to provide our veterans with stable housing and job training opportunities,” Boozman said.
“Veterans have sacrificed a great deal on our behalf, and we have an obligation to provide those who are struggling with the assistance and services they need to get back on their feet,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program is a critical program that does just that, and I am pleased to work across party lines on this important bipartisan legislation to not only extend but also strengthen the program to impact the lives of even more veterans.”
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.
- Clarify that veterans participating in the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program are also eligible for participation in HVRP.
This legislation has the support of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV), Center for American Homeless Veterans and Easterseals.
“The high-quality employment obtained through HVRP allows formerly homeless veterans to re-enter the workforce, support themselves and their families, and stay stably housed long-term,” said Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “HVRP is the most successful employment program available to homeless veterans, and this bill makes needed changes to the program to allow the system to work more seamlessly. Rapid access to housing should never prevent a recently homeless veteran from accessing job training and other employment services.”
“The Homeless Veterans Prevention Act is an inspired and admirable measure to support American Veterans and their families, who combine to total 75 million people,” said Brian Hampton, President of the Center for American Homeless Veterans. “I applaud the Democrats and Republicans for moving this bill forward. With 24 years of veterans' advocacy, I can unequivocally say, this bill will help an immeasurable number of veterans and families and has the added benefit of along the way, saving the taxpayers a great deal of money."
“Easterseals proudly supports the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Programs Improvement Act. This legislation will ensure that at-risk veterans have access to employment training and community supports to help them find a job and reintegrate into society,” said Maynard Friesz, Easterseals’ Assistant Vice President of Government Relations. “As a Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program employment provider, Easterseals applauds Senators Boozman and Tester for their efforts to improve the program and for their commitment to ending veterans’ homelessness.”