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Wenstrup and Brownley Legislation to Fight Veteran Homelessness Passes the House

Washington, May 21, 2018 Contact: Ann Tumolo (202-225-3164)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives 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) 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 the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP), ensuring that our veterans do not fall into unintended legislative gaps.

Currently, homeless veterans are eligible for job training and placement services under 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 passage of the legislation, Congressman Wenstrup and Congresswoman Brownley released the following statements:

“Servicemembers returning home are too often faced with unanticipated challenges as they adjust to civilian life.  As we work to ease this transition, our programming for homeless veterans should be focused on getting veterans the resources they need as quickly as possible to get back on their feet, not forcing them to choose between programs.  This bill will ensure that these vital programs are available to our servicemembers as they transition to life after the military, and that no veteran continues to fall through legislative gaps. Today’s passage marks an important step toward fighting veteran homelessness.  I urge my colleagues in the Senate to quickly pass this legislation,” said Congressman Brad Wenstrup. 

“The men and women of the Armed Forces sacrifice every day to keep us safe, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service, including ensuring they can smoothly transition back into civilian life when they come home. I am so pleased the House passed our bill to allow veterans who have struggled with homelessness to remain eligible for job services while utilizing VA housing programs. By helping more veterans break the cycle of homelessness, they will be able to get back on their feet and better support themselves and their families,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley.

View Rep. Wenstrup’s speech on the House floor here.

Full text of the legislation is available here.