Legislation that includes language similar to a bill introduced by U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) was signed into law ensuring that important veterans housing programs that were set to expire today continue.
President Obama’s signature on the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016 (H.R.5985) authorizes a number of veterans’ programs for the next fiscal year. Among the programs reauthorized by the law are seven Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Labor programs that provide outreach and services to homeless veterans and their families. The language to reauthorize these seven programs is similar to the Keeping Our Commitment to Ending Veteran Homelessness Act introduced by Boozman and Hirono in July.
“I am pleased these important programs that aim to prevent veteran homelessness will continue. These programs provide essential services that are necessary for homeless veterans to rebuild their lives. Through these initiatives, VA and its partners conduct outreach to identify those in need or at risk and help give them a new start. We need to continue the momentum we’ve seen in Arkansas that enables veterans to get the help they need to rebuild their lives. We must continue to advance policies that protect our veterans,” Boozman said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016 reauthorizes the following programs to help homeless veterans:
Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV): Through HCHV, VA medical center staff conduct outreach to homeless veterans, provide care and treatment for medical, psychiatric, and substance use disorders, and refer veterans for supportive services.
Grants and Per Diem (GPD) for Homeless Veterans with Special Needs: GPD for homeless veterans with special needs targets GPD funds to specific groups of veterans, including women, elderly veterans, terminally or mentally ill veterans, and veterans with children.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF): SSVF funds grants for supportive services to assist very low-income veterans and their families who are either residing in permanent housing or transitioning from homelessness. Eligible services include assistance with rent, utility or moving costs, outreach, case management, and help with obtaining VA and other mainstream benefits.
Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans: A committee created by law made up of veteran service organizations and service providers to provide advice to the VA secretary on benefits and services the Department gives to homeless veterans.
Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Veterans: The VA is authorized to sell, lease, lease with the option to buy, or donate properties to nonprofit organizations and state government agencies that will use the property as homeless shelters for veterans and their families.
Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP): HVRP grantees provide services to veterans including outreach, assistance in interview preparation, job search, job training, and follow-up assistance after placement. A separate HVRP targets women veterans and veterans with children.
Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program: Grantee organizations through the Incarcerated Veterans Transition program provide job training and placement services to veterans who are leaving prison.