Congressman Higgins Votes to Approve Homes for Heroes Act of 2009
Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) voted with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to approve H.R. 403, Homes for Heroes Act of 2009, a bill which will expand the supply of housing and support services to low-income veterans.
“Veterans dedicate their lives to preserving and protecting our country. Preserving and protecting our veterans is the least we can do in return,” said Congressman Higgins. “Through this program, our country’s veterans will finally receive the support that they deserve.”
The National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers estimates that veterans comprise of about 23% of all homeless people in America. According to data from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in 2006, approximately 195,827 veterans were homeless on any given night with 21,147 of those from the state of New York and approximately 2,400 from Western New York.
This legislation would require the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department to provide at $200 million for the fiscal year 2009 and at least 20,000 rental vouchers for homeless veterans. With estimates from the Veterans Administration (VA) Department that about one-third of the adult homeless population are veterans, totaling approximately 154,000, this bill has vast and immediate impact on a critical sector of the American population.
In addition to funding and vouchers, the Homes for Heroes Act calls for the creation of a position within HUD to act as a liaison with the VA, bridging the long standing gap that has plagued many veterans. The bill also requires both HUD and the VA to extend comprehensive veterans assistance through outreach programs, health programs, case management, personal finance planning, transportation, employment and training, education, assistance in obtaining veterans benefits, legal aid child care, and housing.