March 23, 2015

Senators Offer Bill to Help Homeless Vets | The Hill

Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have introduced legislation that aims to cut down on homelessness among veterans, as the Veterans Affairs Department scrambles to meet a year-end goal.

There are nearly 50,000 homeless veterans in the United States. The VA pledged in 2010 to end homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015. Since then, they've decreased veteran homelessness by 33 percent.

The senators' Homeless Veterans Prevention Act would allow children of homeless veterans to stay in transitional housing.
Burr said many homeless female veterans face hurdles finding housing because their children have not been able to stay with them.

"This legislation will help us reduce the number of homeless veterans until all of our nation’s heroes have a place to call home. In particular, many women have been unable to fully participate in existing programs because their children were not allowed to live in the transitional housing," the North Carolina Republican said in a statement.

The legislation would also try to minimize disruptions when veterans try to move from transitional to permanent housing. It also allows the VA department to work with outside companies on legal services for homeless veterans and bolsters the amount of money available for low-income veterans in permanent housing.

Manchin said he expects the legislation to "go a long way" to help veterans move into permanent housing.

“I don’t know how we, as a country, can accept that nearly 50,000 Americans who have served our country will be homeless tonight,” the West Virginia Democrat said in a statement. “We must do all that we can to help those veterans and their families, and this bill will go a long way to assist with their transition into permanent housing.”