Bill Expands Housing Assistance for Veterans
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to approve H.R. 3329, the Homes for Heroes Act, which expands housing assistance and supportive services for homeless veterans.
“It’s estimated that an astonishing one-third of the adult homeless population in the US has served in the military,” said Congressman Higgins. “This legislation strengthens existing programs available to help veterans having a difficult time get back on their feet.”
The Homes for Heroes Act:
- Authorizes $200 million in 2008 for an assistance program at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which will provide nonprofit organizations with grants to expand the supply of permanent housing for low-income veterans and their families;
- Makes the HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program permanent and provides 20,000 rental vouchers for homeless vets;
- Establishes the position of Special Assistant for Veterans Affairs to serve as a liaison between HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs;
- Allows veterans’ families to continue to receive the assistance provided for in this bill, even after the veteran’s death; and
- Requires HUD to submit a comprehensive annual report to Congress on the housing needs of the homeless.
“Service providers in Western New York have noted an increase in young, homeless veterans who are returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, often with physical disabilities and post traumatic stress disorder. Combined with unconscionable delays in the approval of their benefits, these problems make it difficult for veterans to secure employment and stable housing,” Higgins added.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that more than 400,000 veterans are homeless at some point during the year and nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.