ICYMI: Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Veteran Homelessness

WASHINGTON -- Today, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Homeless Veterans Prevention Act of 2017. This legislation would build on existing homeless veterans programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by investing in established programs that are proven to be effective and removing any residual barriers to housing for veterans.

“Veteran homelessness is a heartbreaking issue,” said Senator Burr. “We are making progress in combating veterans’ homelessness, and over the last 2 years, we have seen the number of homeless veterans decrease to around 40,000, but that is still far too many, and I will continue to address this problem until the number is zero. 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 Homeless Veterans Prevention Act bill addresses this shortcoming and increases the availability of housing for homeless veterans.”

“As we continue to work toward ending veteran homelessness, we can and must do more to ensure veterans have access to the services they have earned with their service to our country,” Senator Mazie K. Hirono said. “By expanding existing VA partnerships that provide Hawaii veterans with legal assistance, housing, and health care, the Homeless Veterans Prevention Act will not only help prevent veterans from becoming homeless, but also assisting them in moving out of homelessness.”

“It’s our responsibility to ensure that veterans facing homelessness have the resources they need to get back on their feet,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This bipartisan bill makes sure that these veterans have access to health care, legal services and a safe and warm place to call home.”

Key Points for the Homeless Veterans Prevention Act of 2017:

  • Keeps veteran families together by allowing the VA to house the children of homeless veterans in transitional housing programs.
  • Requires the VA to enter into partnerships with public and private entities to provide legal services for homeless veterans and veterans at risk of becoming homeless.
  • Provides VA with the authority to provide dental care to homeless veterans.
  • Extends and increases the amount of money available for supportive services to very low-income veteran families in permanent housing.