June 05, 2024

Ranking Members Takano, Waters, Levin Introduce Key Legislation to Reduce Veteran Homelessness

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Libby Carlson -- 771-216-2280

WASHINGTON, DC – House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (HVAC) Ranking Member Mark Takano (CA-39), House Committee on Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters (CA-43), and HVAC Economic Opportunity Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Levin (CA-49) have introduced the End Veteran Homelessness Act of 2024 (H.R. 8560). This legislation will help reduce casework bottlenecks and expand eligibility for the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, allowing more veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness to obtain permanent housing.? 

“Right now, there are a growing number of veterans experiencing homelessness AND tens of thousands of unused HUD-VASH vouchers,” said Rep. Takano. “Our bill will broaden the population of veterans eligible to access those unused vouchers, which could result in permanent housing for more than 20,000 homeless veterans. While there is no silver bullet, we know the HUD-VASH program is successful, and modernizing it will bring us closer to that goal. I am committed to ending veteran homelessness.”? 

“As a nation, we have a duty to provide safe and affordable housing to the veterans who have bravely served our country,” said Ranking Member Waters. “This bill will significantly enhance the HUD-VASH program by eliminating administrative bottlenecks and ensuring every homeless veteran has access to the housing and supportive services needed to successfully reintegrate into civilian life. The bill will also implement successes from the first-of-its-kind Emergency Housing Voucher program that I secured in the American Rescue Plan Act. Our veterans and their families deserve the best this country has to offer, and I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to get this urgently needed bill across the finish line.” 

“Our veterans have given so much of themselves and represent the very best of our country. We have an obligation to ensure no veteran goes homeless,” said Rep. Mike Levin. “This bill will modernize and expand HUD-VASH voucher eligibility, making it easier for our veterans to obtain housing. This will help fulfill our commitment to take care of our nation’s heroes and ensure every veteran has a place to call home.” 

The HUD-VASH program was established in 1992 with 10,000 vouchers and has grown to over 100,000 vouchers in the last three decades. While the program has helped successfully reduce veteran homelessness by more than 52% between 2010 and 2023, the number of veterans who have received and used HUD-VASH vouchers has stagnated at around 80,000 for the past several years, despite Congress continuing to fund new vouchers. HUD’s 2023 Point in Time (PIT) Count indicates that nearly 38,000 veterans were experiencing homelessness in 2023.?Expanding eligibility to the program is a long overdue step that will empower communities to use every tool at their disposal to end veteran homelessness.   

The End Veteran Homelessness Act of 2024 will:? 

  • Close the gap between the nearly 30,000 existing, unused HUD-VASH vouchers and the homeless veterans still in need of housing.? 
  • Expand HUD-VASH eligibility and the permanent housing and supportive services it provides to thousands of veterans and their families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and are currently ineligible for the program.? 
  • Promote efficiency and improve resource management in HUD-VASH by enabling full voucher utilization and ensuring veterans who need case management receive it.? 
  • Allow veterans who currently receive housing assistance through other federal programs, like the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, to transfer into HUD-VASH to receive supportive services provided through the VA, thereby freeing up HCV vouchers or other subsidies for non-veterans in need.? 
  • Continue to prioritize chronically homeless veterans and veterans with chronic disabilities for HUD-VASH support.? 
  • Adopt flexibilities from the Emergency Housing Voucher program to allow public housing authorities to cover administrative fees to facilitate leases for veterans.? 

Here’s what organizations are saying: 

Ann Oliva, CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness:?"I had the privilege of being part of the federal team that designed and implemented the HUD-VASH program in its current form. It has been the cornerstone of our collective work to end homelessness among our nation’s Veterans, and it has played a key role in the over 50% reduction in veteran homelessness since 2010.? The Alliance is pleased to endorse the End Veteran Homelessness Act because now is the time to update this highly successful program in order to increase utilization of vouchers and get even more homeless veterans into permanent housing, while continuing to serve those with acute needs with both housing assistance and wraparound services."?  

Kathryn Monet, CEO, NCHV: "NCHV lauds the introduction of the End Veteran Homelessness Act. Ranking Members Mark Takano and Maxine Waters have recognized the importance of HUD and VA's collaboration on the HUD-VASH program that provides permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans across the nation. This bill will expand the program's eligibility, while retaining its mandate to serve the most vulnerable veterans. We urge Congress to pass this bill without delay." 

Rosanne Haggerty, President, Community Solutions: "At Community Solutions, we know that veteran homelessness is solvable. Our network of over 100 Built for Zero communities has shown that progress is made when data drives the discussions. The End Veteran Homelessness Act of 2024 brings us one step closer to making sure every vet has a place to call home."   

Mayor of Los Angeles Karen Bass: “No one who served this country should be forced to sleep on the streets – and that is a bipartisan belief. Earlier this month, Ranking Members Takano, Waters, and Levin met with our mayoral delegation in Washington, DC as we advocated to expand veteran eligibility for housing vouchers so that veterans don’t have to choose between their disability benefits and housing. Today, by introducing this Act, Ranking Members Takano, Waters, and Levin continue to move the needle as we work to break down bureaucratic barriers that contribute to veteran homelessness so that the people that served our country no longer face falling into homelessness. Thank you Ranking Members Takano, Waters, and Levin for your work on this important issue."? 

Lindsey P. Horvath, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors: “Veterans have sacrificed immensely for our nation, and it is our duty to ensure they have the support they need when they return home,” said. “This bill addresses the critical issue of veteran homelessness by expanding the eligibility for HUD-VASH vouchers and cutting through the red tape that prevents our veterans from accessing stable housing. By modernizing this program, we can make a significant impact in reducing homelessness among our veteran community and honor their service with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum, CEO of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority: “The changes to the End Veteran Homelessness Act will improve the efficiency of our rehousing system by significantly reducing red tape in the HUD-VASH program and making vouchers available to thousands of veterans in need of housing services. The HUD-VASH program is extremely vital in reducing Veteran homelessness and needs smart policy changes that will allow us to bring even more of our heroes home.”

This bill is also endorsed by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and National CORE.