Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act, legislation co-authored by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) and Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) to fight veteran homelessness by strengthening job training programs. This bill was passed as part of the Veterans Benefit and Transition Act of 2018, and it is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law in the coming days.
“Our nation’s men and women in uniform undertake enormous sacrifices every day to keep us safe, and we must do everything we can to ensure they smoothly transition back into civilian life,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “I am pleased the House passed our legislation today, which will allow veterans who have struggled with homelessness to remain eligible for job services while utilizing VA housing programs. This will help more veterans get jobs, break the cycle of homelessness, and support themselves and their families through meaningful work. I want to thank Congressman Wenstrup for championing this issue with me, and I look forward to continuing to work with him to see this bill signed into law.”
Currently, homeless veterans are eligible for job training and placement services under the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP). However, if a veteran is also eligible for assistance under 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 VA 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.
The Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act would clarify that veterans eligible for HUD-VASH, SSVF, or Native American Housing Assistance are still eligible for HVRP assistance. This legislation would also reauthorize the HVRP program for three years, along with programs that are designed for female homeless veterans and homeless veterans with children.
“HVRP is the best job training and placement resource we have for homeless veterans. For many years however, a bureaucratic hurdle has made it impossible for veterans to qualify if they are housed before they can apply for employment assistance,” said Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV). “This bill completely removes that hurdle, ensuring that this program is available for any veteran who needs a permanent home and a good job.”