Our local congressman, Howard “Buck” McKeon, and chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jeff Miller, are co-sponsoring the Housing for Heroes Act, a bill that will help organize transitional housing for homeless veterans.
Though it is unlikely to pass in the 112th Congress, it will most likely be reset and advanced after the 113th Congress is sworn in later this week.
The bill is still being reviewed by a subcommittee of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. If passed, it would prohibit grants made by the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs under homeless veterans’ comprehensive services programs from exceeding 65 percent of the estimated cost of the project.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs denies projects that would involve funding from private sources such as certain nonprofits. The legislation’s would allow VA to find public-private partnerships to expand veteran housing.
J.D. Kennedy, an aide to McKeon on veteran matters said, “There is a lot that could be done with nonprofits if VA were allowed to partner with them on projects.”
In October 2011 the Labor Department reported 900,000 unemployed veterans. At the same time, unemployment for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan was 12.1 percent. The hope is that the Housing for Heroes Act will help decrease these statistics.
For more information on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, click here.