In the News
September 23, 2020
By Andrew Dyer
SAN DIEGO — Five major veterans bills passed the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday, including some introduced by Reps. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, Scott Peters, D-San Diego and Susan Davis, D-San Diego.
One of the bills, the Dependable Employment and Living Improvements for Veterans’ Economic Recovery Act, or the “DELIVER” Act, was sponsored by Levin and includes five bills co-sponsored with Republican lawmakers and a sixth co-sponsored with Peters.
Four of those bills directly address veteran housing and homelessness, including Peters’ Veteran HOUSE Act, which aims to help veterans experiencing homelessness gain access to certain housing vouchers even if they were discharged under “other than honorable” conditions.
Another bill included in the DELIVER Act would create a pilot program for off-base transition training and a grant program for additional transition assistance services such as resume assistance and job interview training.
A statement from Peters notes that veterans make up 12 percent of San Diego’s homeless population.
Levin’s district spans from southern Orange County to La Jolla, including Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and the largest concentration of Marines on the West Coast. It also has a large veteran population — about 45,000 of them, according to the latest Census Bureau numbers.
“I have seen veterans and their families in my district lining up for food, heard from veterans who couldn’t access desperately-needed housing resources, and met with former servicemembers who struggled to start new careers despite services that should’ve been there for them,” Levin said in a statement. “No veteran should go hungry, homeless, or jobless.”
Another bill introduced by Peters passed Wednesday as part of the Veterans’ COMPACT Act. The Sergeant Daniel Somers Veterans Network of Support Act provides support to families of veterans to help them navigate resources available to transitioning service members. Somers died by suicide in 2013 after two tours in Iraq.
Levin and retiring Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, co-sponsored the House version of the bill. The Senate version was introduced by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, and was passed unanimously in July.
Several other veterans’ bills also passed Wednesday, including the SHIELD for Veterans Act, which reforms the Veterans Affairs debt collection process, and the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019, with sends funds to state and local organizations that provide veteran suicide prevention services.
Two of the bills specifically address women veterans.
The Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act ensures women veterans have access to the same no-cost contraceptive care as non-veteran women. And two of the COMPACT Act provisions will fund a “gap analysis” and a report on VA programs that address homeless women veterans and women’s use of VA health care.