Congresswoman Jenkins Authors Amendment to Improve Housing Options for Homeless Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 31, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (KS-02) authored an amendment to H.R. 2610, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014. As the co-chair of the House Defense Communities Caucus, Jenkins believes ensuring our nation’s veterans receive the highest quality of care and services when they return home is just as important as providing critical support of our troops in the midst of combat. The Chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee on Appropriations, Tom Latham, agreed to work with Jenkins in the future to ensure the Department of Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program serves homeless veterans in the best way possible.

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Congresswoman Jenkins:

“I would also like to rise in support of a provision to strengthen the safety net for our veterans in need by making some changes to the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing, or HUD-VASH, program. The HUD-VASH program is an example of a program worthy of federal funding. It helps our homeless veterans, who served and defended our nation, to obtain viable housing assistance.

“I believe that we can all agree that supporting our veterans, particularly our homeless veterans, is a worthy and worthwhile initiative. Veterans and their families sacrifice tremendously to fight to preserve the freedoms you and I enjoy.

“After discussing the program with communities in Kansas, I believe that there are several changes that can be made in order to improve delivery of the program from local housing authorities to veterans.

“The changes would direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development would track HUD-VASH vouchers after they have been awarded to public housing agencies to ensure that these funds are able to be fully utilized to help homeless veterans. This will aid housing agencies in differentiating VASH vouchers from other Section 9 vouchers in the same pool.

“The suggested changes would also require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to work with public housing agencies to adopt a simple process for “porting” HUD-VASH vouchers from one community to another, based on need by a community’s homeless veterans. Streamlining this process would give flexibility to our communities to ensure that VASH vouchers are utilized by as many qualified veterans as possible.

“Finally, my proposal would require HUD to implement a guidance recognizing the delay that public housing authorities sometimes face in distributing a HUD-VASH voucher while a veteran is in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. This will continue to allow housing agencies to reserve HUD-VASH vouchers for these homeless veterans without it affecting their administrative performance in the eyes of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

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