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FY 2015 Veterans Campaign
|Thank you for your interest in joining our campaign for funding for dedicated homeless assistance programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs. This page will provide you with all the information you need to take action to help secure the necessary resources for the programs like HUD-VASH, GDP, and SSVF in FY 2015. Read on for the latest alerts, updates, and ways you can get connected with the Alliance to take action!|
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made a strong commitment to ending homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015. With the proper investment in the right programs, we know we can achieve this goal. Work with us in 2014 to help secure a funding increase to dedicated homelessness assistance programs within VA to help us meet VA's goal and serve those who have served our country.
Although the President’s Proposal included good news for targeted homeless assistance programs within VA (including a $12.5 percent increase to these programs to $1.6 billion, including $500 million for SSVF), in this tough budget climate the House has not thus far followed suit. On April 30, the full House passed its FY 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill for programs under its jurisdiction, including all VA programs. The bill flat funded targeted homeless assistance programs within VA (including SSVF, the case management portion of vouchers, Grant and Per Diem Transitional Housing, and other programs) at $1.4 billion - $200 million below the amount requested by the President in his budget proposal.
Fortunately, on Thursday, May 22, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up their version of this bill, which would provide $1.641 billion for targeted homeless veteran programs within VA, $241 million more than the FY 2014 enacted level and $41 million more than the amount requested in the President's Budget Proposal. This $1.641 billion includes $500 million for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), a $200 million increase over the final FY 2014 level and equivalent to the President’s Budget Proposal; $75 million for new HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, as well as $374 million for the case management portion of the vouchers, a $96 million increase from the FY 2014 enacted level and $53 million increase from the President’s Budget Proposal; and $253 million for the Grant Per Diem transitional housing program, a $3 million increase from the FY 2014 enacted level and $1 million increase from the President’s Budget Proposal.
In order to secure robust resources for our veterans, we now need to make sure that the $1.641 funding level in the VA funding bill that passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee passes through the full Senate!
Here’s What You Can Do:
1. Call or email your Members of Congress, and ask to speak to the person who handles veterans issues.
2. When calling your SENATORS, tell the staff person to support the VA funding bill, including $1.641 billion for targeted homeless veteran programs and $500 million for SSVF, on the Senate floor.
3. When calling your RESPRESENTATIVES, let them know that VA homeless assistance programs must be funded at $1.641 billion, including $500 million for the SSVF program, in the final FY 2015 funding legislation.
4. Let us know who you contacted and what they said!
The President released his FY 2015 Budget Proposal on Tuesday, March 4. The Alliance hosted a webinar outlining the President’s funding proposals and what they mean for our efforts to end homelessness among veterans. You can find a recording of the webinar, as well as a variety of other materials, here.
The President’s Proposal included good news for the set of dedicated homeless assistance programs within VA that are critical to ending homelessness among veterans, including the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program, the joint-Department of Housing and Urban Development - VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, and the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. The Administration proposed an overall $12.5 percent increase to these combined programs – to $1.6 billion (including $500 million for the SSVF program, a $200 million increase over the FY 2014 level)! This funding level would continue to reduce the number of veterans experiencing homelessness and help the nation achieve the goal of ending homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015.
In addition to the $500 million for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), the proposed FY 2015 funding legislation includes $75 million for new HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, as well as $321 million for the case management portion of the vouchers, a $43 million increase from final FY 2014 levels; and $252 million for the Grant Per Diem transitional housing program, a slight increase from final FY 2014 levels.
The most significant of these programs is the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) program, which is intended to be a short-term, cost-effective intervention that will help veterans and their families keep, or rapidly move to, permanent housing. The program complements more intensive models for veterans with higher needs, and is targeted toward veterans and their families who are facing imminent eviction, or who are currently homeless. SSVF has already been implemented in communities across the country, with excellent results. Continuing to expand the SSVF program to scale will put VA within reach of its goal to eradicate homelessness among those who have served our country. The proposed $500 million for this program would allow it to re-house and prevent homelessness for over 80,000 veterans and their families.
Since the VA operates under advance appropriations, in addition to flat funding VA’s homeless veterans programs for FY 2015, the House bill also provides $1.265 billion for VA’s homeless assistance programs in FY 2016. The bill also requests an analysis of the challenges facing homeless female veterans and an explanation of how the VA will work to meet these challenges and provide equal treatment and assistance for female veterans.
The report accompanying the Senate version of the bill highlights progress made in recent years to end homelessness among veterans and also directs Secretary Shinseki to conduct a needs assessment of veterans in rural areas who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and welcomes suggestions on how to improve housing stability for these veterans.
Never Another Homeless Veteran Campaign:
The Alliance recently launched the Never Another Homeless Veteran campaign, which represents a two-year effort by the Alliance and our partners to build leverage and public support to end veteran homelessness in the United States. The effort is founded on the belief that ending veteran homelessness in the United States is an achievable goal if we are vocal about our support for the cause and act strategically in terms of how we target our resources and coordinate our interventions.
As part of the campaign, we are looking to get 10,000 pledges to end veteran homelessness. We ask that anyone who supports the mission of ending veteran homelessness in America signs this statement in order to speak out and help us demonstrate strong public support for ensuring that every veteran who has served our country has a safe and stable place to call home. We are also asking folks to circulate the statement to colleagues, family members, friends and anyone else who believes that veterans should never have to experience homelessness. After signing, you will receive updates from our Never Another Homeless Veteran campaign for future action steps you can take to ensure that there is never another homeless veteran.
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