Every year, over 15,000 servicemembers transition out of the Armed Forces in San Diego and about half stay here as they return to civilian life. San Diego is also home to one of the nation’s largest populations of homeless veterans. We owe it to them, and to every veteran, to ensure they have an affordable place to live, and access to the care and benefits they earned through their service. Scott helped craft and pass the Forever GI Bill, which gave veterans flexibility to access the educational benefits they earned when they need them and included his bill that gives Purple Heart recipients their full education benefits. Scott has also fought to reduce the stigma surrounding veteran mental health and ensure veteran families have the resources they need to support veterans when they return home. Our country must keep our promises to the men and women who volunteered to fight for our freedom and security just as they served us.
Successful Transition to Civilian Life
The transition to civilian life represents a time of anticipation, stress, and hope for veterans and their families. We must ensure veterans and their families can access the benefits they have earned, employment and housing opportunities, and support from the local community whether in San Diego or elsewhere in the country. Scott has worked to address these challenges by:
- Introducing a bill to give full education benefits to all Purple Heart recipients regardless of how long they served in active-duty. The bill was included in the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act and is now law;
- Leading legislation to educate veterans on the free resources available to file claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs and highlight the threat of companies who seek to charge profits for such services;
Housing for Our Heroes
Men and women who courageously risk their lives to protect and defend our nation should be able to do so with full confidence that we will provide them with steadfast support once they finish their service. With San Diego’s homeless veteran population among the largest in the country, more must be done to ensure that America’s veterans have safe, stable places to return to following their service. Scott has worked to address veteran homelessness in San Diego by:
- Introducing the bipartisan Veteran HOUSE Act, to expand eligibility for HUD-VASH vouchers for veterans who have other-than-honorable discharges. Veterans with OTH discharges currently cannot obtain housing vouchers since they cannot use the supportive services from the VA as required by the HUD-VASH program;
- Offering an amendment that was included in a package of bills to prohibit the Trump Administration from gutting funding for veteran homelessness programs. This legislation is now law;
- Introducing the bipartisan Homes for our Heroes Act, to guarantee 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 to increase transparency in the program; and
- Introducing the Shelter Our Servicemembers Act, which provides senior veterans permanent, non-transitional services through local non-profit organizations.
Providing Quality, Accessible Healthcare
Our San Diego veterans often sacrifice their mental and physical health to serve and defend our country. We must protect and improve the VA healthcare system, so veterans have unimpeded access to the care they need. Throughout Scott’s public service, he has fiercely advocated for providing veterans with the high-quality medical care they deserve. Examples of his advocacy include:
- Introducing the bipartisan Daniel Somers Network of Support Act, which creates vital networks of support for servicemembers and their families in order to improve engagement when it comes to addressing mental health concerns in veterans. The bill passed the House in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
- Introducing the Veteran Peer Specialist Act of 2021 which expanded VA’s peer specialist pilot to all VA facilities over a five-year period. This bill passed into law in the Fiscal Year 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
- Introducing the CHAMPVA Online Act which would require VA to offer an online application portal for the “Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMP).”
More on Veterans
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