Bipartisan Bill Designed To Help Homeless Veterans
March 4, 2011 – Helping Our Homeless Veterans Act is new, bipartisan legislation recently introduced to help fight the homelessness that is seemingly rampant among veterans. The bill was introduced by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Scott Brown (R-MA), Mark Begich (D-AK), James Inhofe (R-OK), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Robert Casey (D-PA), and John Cornyn (R-TX). This comes on the heels of a recent study that found veterans account for only 10% of the adult population yet they are 16% of the adult homeless population.
The bill aims to help homeless veterans by focusing on the veterans living in more rural areas. The plan is to enhance and expand the reach of HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH). This program supplies more than just housing vouchers to “chronically homeless veterans.” They also provide homeless veterans help in finding counseling they may need as well as job training.
Should this legislation pass, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be encouraged to establish and nurture relationships with businesses, charities, homeless shelters, and local governments in small, rural communities so the homeless veterans in those communities have access to assistance. The established partnerships will seek to provide necessary and vital services to as many veterans as can be reached through the VA.
Rural communities do not have the ability to provide many of the services veterans need, so what they need must come from someone or somewhere else. There is no way to meet the VA’s goal of ending homelessness by 2015 without reaching out to the rural communities.