FY 2014 Veterans Appropriations: Sample Congressional Talking Points

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Advocacy Resource | May 13, 2013

Files: VA Talking Points (PDF | 49 KB | 1 page

$1.4 billion would provide case management for approximately 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers, fund $300 million for Supportive Services for Veteran Families, and increase funding for other key homeless veteran programs.

Talking Points:

Need. There are approximately 62,600 homeless veterans on any given night in America. HUD-VASH has housed many chronically homeless veterans, but the job is not finished. In addition, homeless veterans are increasingly younger, female, and/or part of a family, and many need less intensive interventions and housing services, such as prevention and rapid re-housing services.
o Use data to discuss the local population of homeless veterans.

Continue Progress. We are within striking distance of reaching VA’s goal of ending homelessness among veterans by 2015. Between 2011 and 2012, veteran homelessness fell by more than 7 percent. VA has used increased resources in recent years to work with its local partners and HUD to bring its response to scale and to operate a variety of programs to meet each veteran’s individual needs.
o Discuss the success of a local homeless veteran program, such as HUD-VASH or the Supportive Services for veteran Families (SSVF) program, using data. Mention the number of veterans in your community who would benefit from housing services if more were available.
o Share the success of local HPRP initiatives upon which new SSVF programs could be modeled.

o Cost-Effectiveness. A number of studies have demonstrated that permanent supportive housing, such as that provided by HUD-VASH, is a cost-effective approach that helps people who have intensive needs maintain stable housing. SSVF builds upon the proven, cost-efficient models implemented by the main homeless assistance system to prevent homelessness in the first place or to rapidly place veterans and/or their families back into housing, thus reducing shelter and other emergency services costs.
o Share local cost-saving studies on homelessness programs, or share data about the average cost of an HPRP intervention.

Community Partnerships. VA made a strong commitment to ending homelessness among veterans by 2015 and has worked to develop a range of interventions for each veteran’s individual needs. These programs have strengthened collaboration between VA and key community partners, resulting in increased local capacity to serve homeless and at-risk veterans.
o Discuss any partnerships between your local homeless assistance and VA systems. This is a great opportunity to make the connection between similar interventions (prevention, rapid re-housing, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing) funded through HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs that also serve some veterans.

I hope we can count on you to work with your colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to ensure that the final FY 2014 VA Appropriations Act provides a funding level of $1.4 billion for VA’s homeless programs, including $300 million for the SSVF program, in order to ensure that no veteran is homeless in America by 2015.