WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Reps. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Jacky Rosen (NV-03), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Bruce Westerman (R-AR) introduced the Keeping Our Commitment to Ending Veteran Homelessness Act of 2018. This bipartisan legislation would reauthorize several key programs that provide outreach and services to homeless veterans across the country. The bill would renew eight U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Labor programs that will begin to expire on September 30, 2018 without Congressional action.
“Our veterans risk their lives to serve their nation and protect our way of life,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “More veterans live in our Congressional district than any other district in New York State, and this critical legislation will ensure they have access to housing and financial assistance. This legislation also offers support for those veterans suffering from mental illness. I’m proud to work on behalf of our veterans on this bipartisan initiative and urge my colleagues to support those who have defended our nation.”
“Nevada’s veterans have put their lives on the line to protect this nation, and it is our responsibility to support them when they finish their service,” said Congresswoman Rosen. “This bipartisan legislation will help prevent veterans from becoming homeless and ensure those living on the streets get the support they need to get back on their feet. This is the least we can do for the brave women and men who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe, and we must renew these critical programs.”
“No American—and especially no military veteran—should have to live on the streets,” said Congresswoman Murphy. “On any given night, there are over 40,000 homeless veterans in the United States. Ending veteran homelessness requires serious and sustained efforts. Men and women who wore the uniform have earned our support, especially when they are down on their luck. I’m proud to join Reps. Rosen, Stefanik and Westerman in introducing this bipartisan bill to authorize funding for federal initiatives that address the root causes of veteran homelessness and empower these American heroes to get back on their feet.”
“The men and women who serve in uniform are a cut above the rest,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman. “For this reason, the American people owe a debt of gratitude to our American military heroes. But it is more than a simple ‘Thank you.’ We must provide the tools necessary for our veterans to reintegrate into society and if they fall on hard times, the tools to get back on their feet. That is why I am proud to sponsor this bill which aims to end veteran homelessness.”
BACKGROUND: This bill reauthorizes the following programs:
- Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program: Provides services to veterans including outreach, assistance in interview preparation, job search, job training, and follow-up assistance after placement.
- Homeless Women Veterans and Homeless Veterans with Children Reintegration Program: Provides job training, counseling, placement services, and child care services to expedite the reintegration of homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children back into the labor force.
- Mental Healthcare for Homeless Veterans: Conducts outreach to homeless veterans, provides care and treatment for medical, psychiatric, and substance use disorders, and refers veterans for supportive services.
- Referral and Counseling Services for Certain Veterans at Risk of Homelessness: Provides counseling with respect to job training, and in the case of placement, housing, healthcare, and other benefits to assist veterans in the transition from institutional living.
- Supportive Services for Veteran Families: 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.
- Housing Assistance for Homeless Veterans: Authorizes the VA 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.
- Grants and Per Diem (GPD) Homeless Veterans with Special Needs: Allows VA to award grants to community-based agencies to create transitional housing programs and offer per diem payments. GPD Special Needs funding assists with operating costs of services for special need groups such as women, chronically mentally ill, and those with minor dependents.
- Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans: Provides advice to the VA secretary on benefits and services the VA gives to homeless veterans.