Wenstrup, Brownley Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Fight Veteran Homelessness
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health, introduced the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program Improvement Act of 2017 to fight veteran homelessness by strengthening job training programs for our warfighters who have returned home.
Currently, homeless veterans are eligible for job training and placement services under the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP). However, if a veteran is also eligible for assistance under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), or Native American Housing Assistance, the VA considers them to be no longer “homeless”, thereby restricting access to HVRP. In doing so, a veteran is denied access to a program that will help them re-enter the workforce and get them back on their feet.
The Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program Improvement Act would clarify that veterans eligible for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), or Native American Housing Assistance are also eligible for HVRP assistance. This legislation would also reauthorize the HVRP program for five years, along with programs that are designed for female homeless veterans and homeless veterans with children.
“Too often, when our men and women in uniform return home after their service to this country, finding a job and assimilating back into civilian life proves fraught with challenges,” said Congressman Wenstrup. “Strengthening job training programs to empower our veterans with career and job opportunities that provide similar comradery and meaning as their service provided them is the least we can do, after all they have done for us.
“Veterans have served our nation with honor and distinction, and we must do more to help them re-enter the workforce and thrive when they transition back to civilian life,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “To break the cycle of veteran homelessness, veterans must have the tools they need to support themselves and their families. I am honored to join Congressman Wenstrup to introduce this legislation to strengthen job training programs for homeless and recently homeless veterans, and to help those who have struggled to find employment get back on their feet.”
Full text of the legislation is available here.
Organizations in Support:
Easterseals: “Easterseals affiliates located in Cincinnati and across the country are helping homeless veterans reconnect to their communities and find meaningful employment through the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program,” said Maynard Friesz, Easterseals' Assistant Vice President of Government Relations. “Easterseals applauds Representatives Wenstrup and Brownley for their bipartisan leadership to help veterans by extending this proven employment program.”
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans: “The high-quality employment obtained through HVRP allows formerly homeless veterans to re-enter the workforce, support themselves and their families, and stay stably housed long-term,” said Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “We thank Representatives Wenstrup and Brownley for recognizing that rapid access to housing should never prevent a recently homeless veteran from accessing job training and other employment services. Their bill makes needed changes to allow the HVRP program to integrate much more meaningfully into housing-first oriented community systems to end veteran homelessness.”
The Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) provides services to assist in reintegrating homeless veterans into meaningful employment and to help address the complex problems facing homeless veterans. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis to eligible applicants such as state and local Workforce Investment Boards; public agencies; for-profit/commercial entities; and non-profit organizations, including faith based and community based organizations. The program is “employment focused” and veterans receive the employment and training services they need to re-enter the labor force. For more information on HVRP, please click here.
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