WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran – the lead Republican on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC) – today hosted a roundtable discussion with SVAC Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.), including members from the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Labor, and Housing and Urban Development (HOD), and veterans’ advocates from across the country, including Mr. Eric Arganbright, program director for Catholics Charities Wichita Supportive Services for Veteran Families.
The roundtable focused on veteran homelessness amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccination efforts for this difficult-to-reach population, the allocation of funding and resources, and steps to effectively end veteran homelessness.
“Tackling veteran homelessness will require partnerships across federal departments and with organizations that are also working to serve the homeless population,” said Sen. Moran. “Veterans often return home facing mental health conditions, physical injuries and the challenge of returning to civilian life. This roundtable serves as an opportunity to determine whether we are on the right track, what has worked, what hasn’t and what additional steps we may need to take to ensure a better future for all our veterans.”
Throughout the pandemic, Sen. Moran has advocated for resources to help combat veteran homelessness, including provisions in the CARES Act and the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020. Furthermore, Congress gave authority to VA to waive limits on grant amounts in the Grant Per Diem (GPD) Program for temporary housing in order to maximize social distancing as well as provide more funding flexibility for VA to make greater use of telehealth equipment and personal hygiene items to help fill critical gaps in services.
Each year, HUD releases a Point-in-Time count on unhoused people, including veterans. The 2020 report found a less than one percent increase overall in veteran homelessness since 2019. This report was conducted before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
# # #