WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) along with U.S. Representatives Tracey Mann (KS-01) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) – members of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to expand the Department of Labor (DOL) Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) to all 50 states and U.S. territories. The HVRP program offers customized employment and training services to homeless or at-risk-of-homelessness veterans to address their specific barriers to employment. Services may include occupational, classroom and on-the-job training, as well as job search, placement assistance and post-placement follow-up services.
Currently, not all states have organizations that are receiving HVRP grants for the FY2021 cycle, including Kansas, Alaska, Nebraska, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia. The Reaching Every Homeless Veteran Act of 2021 would mandate DOL ensure that HVRP grants are awarded in every state and U.S. territory, while maintaining the same high-quality application criteria standards. In instances where a state or territory is without eligible applicants, the DOL would be mandated to coordinate an outreach and education program in coordination with the state Director of Veterans' Employment and Training to increase awareness around HVRP and the benefits of the program.
The legislation would also implement mandated reporting requirements for DOL on the HVRP application and selection process, providing Congress with the data necessary to discern future statutory or funding changes.
“Our nation’s veterans who are at risk or currently dealing with homelessness deserve access to employment training no matter which state they reside in,” said Sen. Moran, ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “As we continue our work to drive down the veteran unemployment rate, I introduced the Reaching Every Homeless Veteran Act to make certain veterans living in every state and territory have access to the specialized employment services supported by the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program. Thank you to my colleagues Sen. Manchin, Rep. Mann and Rep. Pappas for working across the aisle to lead in this effort.”
“Our brave Veterans served our country with honor and no matter what state they live in, they should have the same opportunities for support programs like the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP),” said Sen. Manchin. “This critical program helps Veterans experiencing homelessness get back on their feet and find steady, good-paying jobs. Several rural states, including West Virginia, have not been awarded funds for HVRP programs. This is worrisome, and I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support our commonsense legislation to require the Department of Labor to investigate these inconsistencies. As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, I’m committed to addressing Veteran homelessness and supporting those who defended our great nation.”
“Too many of our veterans face the heartbreaking effects of housing insecurity and don’t have access to resources to help them – especially those in more rural areas, like most of my district in western Kansas,” said Rep. Mann. “The Reaching Every Homeless Veteran Act of 2021 will expand grant funding to underserved areas of the country, giving more veterans access to employment services and other resources to combat homelessness. I’m proud to join my Kansas colleague, Senator Jerry Moran, Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH), and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in this bipartisan, bicameral effort to support our nation’s heroes.”
“No one who has served our country should ever find themselves without a place to call home,” said Rep. Pappas. “Expanding Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program grants to states that are currently unserved by this program is the right thing to do for our veterans across the country, and for veterans in New Hampshire who rely not just on state resources but on those from our neighboring state of Vermont as well.”
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) applauded this bipartisan effort to improve the employment services offered to homeless veterans and help them reach their full potential in the work force.
"Employment services for homeless and recently homeless veterans are crucial to maintain an avenue out of housing insecurity,” said Kathryn Monet, CEO National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “The Reaching Every Homeless Veteran Act of 2021 will expand the reach of the Department of Labor's Homeless Veterans Re-integration Program to areas of the country not currently serviced. NCHV applauds SVAC Ranking Member Jerry Moran and Senator Joe Manchin for leading this bill in the Senate, as well as Representatives Tracey Mann of Kansas and Chris Pappas of New Hampshire for leading the U.S. House of Representatives companion."
This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).
Full text of the bill can be found HERE.
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