Reps. Peters, Katko, Takano, Coffman Introduce Bipartisan ‘Homes for Our Heroes Act’ to Provide Insight about Homeless Veterans
Yesterday, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) introduced H.R. 7022, a bipartisan bill with Representatives John Katko (NY-24), Mark Takano (CA-41), and Mike Coffman (CO-6) that will increase transparency within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program which provides eligible veterans with supportive services.
“We need to better understand, and quantify, the challenges veterans face as they seek to use HUD-VASH vouchers for housing, particularly in high-cost regions like San Diego; to do that, we need greater transparency about the program from both HUD and the VA. Equipped with that data, Congress can make better policy decisions that get our veterans the housing and care they need,” said Rep. Peters.
While some cities and states have declared an end to homelessness, defined as homelessness as rare, brief, and non-recurring, others have had less success. Last year was the first year that the number of homeless veterans rose since 2010. The Homes for Our Heroes Act guarantees that Congress receives reports on who receives HUD-VASH vouchers, studies the use of HUD-VASH vouchers in high-cost housing markets, and discloses how vouchers are allocated. Mental health care and other supportive services accompany rental assistance vouchers, providing wraparound services for veterans who use these vouchers. The bill is supported by the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
“Over the past few years, our country has made tremendous strides in protecting our veterans from homelessness. However, overworked VA employees and a higher cost-of-living have led to certain programs becoming less effective. I’m proud to support this piece of legislation with my colleague, Rep. Scott Peters, to ensure that Congress and the VA have the necessary information to continue the fight against veterans homelessness,” said Rep. Katko.
“Many cities, including Riverside, California in my district, are making great strides to combat veteran homelessness with support from programs funded by Congress. However, veterans across the country continue struggling to find affordable housing,” said Rep. Takano. “With veteran homelessness on the rise, I’m working with Rep. Peters and Rep. Katko to introduce the Home for Our Heroes Act to study the barriers that our veterans face to utilizing HUD-VASH and ensure that the HUD-VASH program can be an effective resource for every veteran in need.”
“Helping homeless veterans is the right thing to do and caring for homeless veterans is an issue I have focused since my time in Congress. VASH supported veteran housing, adjacent to the new VA hospital in my Congressional District, will soon become a reality so I appreciate how important it is for us in Congress to better understand how, where, and when the VASH program currently operates so we can identify ways to make it more effective in helping homeless veterans,” said Rep. Coffman.
“HUD-VASH has been integral to the progress made toward ending Veteran homelessness nationwide. This bill would provide important information to understand how HUD-VASH is distributed and implemented,” said Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
"HUD-VASH is one of the most effective tools we have to end veteran homelessness," said Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV). "Finding out where we can improve this key program is crucial to the long-term success of national efforts to place veterans experiencing homelessness into housing."