Tester Sounds Alarm, Demands Immediate Action to Fix Veterans Housing at Fort Harrison

Senator called on VA to “take whatever steps necessary” to fix issues jeopardizing veterans’ health and housing at Freedom’s Path

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is sounding the alarm to demand the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) take immediate action to protect Montana veterans living at Freedom’s Path on the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center Campus—a facility leased by a third party company (the lessee) that provides housing to veterans and their families using Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) project-based vouchers. This follows the lessee’s failure to fix concerns with lead-based paint in some of the housing units at Freedom’s Path, resulting in a letter of notice from the Montana Department of Commerce stating it will halt federal project-based voucher funds to the company unless the lessee remediates concerns.

“Montana veterans and their families deserve safe and stable housing, and it’s unacceptable that the lessee running Freedom’s Path has not yet resolved critical issues that could jeopardize these folks’ housing and health,” said Tester. “I’ve made it clear VA needs to drop the hammer on its lessee to ensure they take immediate action to fix these issues, and I’ll keep VA accountable to holding this company’s feet to the fire when it comes to delivering for the veterans they signed up to serve.”

While the lessee is prohibited from putting any veterans’ housing in question solely due to the potential halting of federal funds, it is still essential VA work expeditiously to get these issues resolved for veterans and their families. Tester’s push follows a letter he sent on May 8th urging VA to immediately utilize all the necessary resources to ensure its lessee is following the standards set by HUD to maintain safe housing for our nation’s heroes and their families.

Underscoring the importance of VA working with the other parties involved to resolve these issues swiftly, the Senator pressed McDonough in his recent letter: “It is imperative the Department take whatever steps necessary to ensure these units provide safe and appropriate housing for these veterans and their families…with the utmost urgency and using all legal authorities.”

Read the Senator’s full letter HERE.