Wenstrup and Brownley Legislation to Fight Veteran Homelessness Marked Up

Washington, May 8, 2018 Contact: Ann Tumolo (202-225-3164)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4451).  The legislation was introduced by Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee on November 16, 2017

The Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act would clarify that veterans participating in federal, state, and community housing assistance programs are also eligible for HVRP assistance, ensuring that our veterans do not fall into unintended legislative gaps.

Currently, homeless veterans are eligible for job training and placement services under the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP). However, if a veteran is also receiving assistance under a federal, local, or community housing assistance program, including 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 Department of Labor 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.

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.

Upon the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passage of the legislation, Congressman Wenstrup and Congresswoman Brownley released the following statements:

“Programs like the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program exist as a safeguard for veterans facing difficulty returning to civilian life.  A veteran's eligibility for housing assistance should not disqualify them from other programs that will help them train for the workforce, find a job, and ultimately a home of their own.  This legislation will make necessary resources available to homeless and recently homeless veterans.  I look forward to its consideration by the full House of Representatives and urge its swift passage,” said Congressman Brad Wenstrup.

“Our nation’s servicemembers undertake enormous sacrifices every day to keep us safe, and we must ensure they can smoothly transition back into civilian life when they come home. I am pleased the Committee passed our legislation today to allow veterans who have struggled with homelessness to be eligible for job services while utilizing VA housing programs. This will help more veterans break the cycle of homelessness, support themselves and their families, and get back on their feet. I want to thank Congressman Wenstrup for championing this issue together and look forward to continuing to work with him to move this bill forward,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley.

Full text of the legislation is available here.