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VA Homelessness Programs
|The Department of Veterans Affairs has a variety of programs targeted toward veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This page offers an overview of those programs and their purpose within the VA homelessness system.|
The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2014 Budget Proposal includes $300 million for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF); $75 million for new HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, as well as $278 million for the case management portion of the vouchers, a $33 million increase from final FY 2013 levels; and $250 million for the Grant Per Diem transitional housing program, a $15 million increase from final FY 2013 levels. It is important to note that these programs are exempt from sequestration, the across-the-board cuts to security and non-security discretionary spending.
On June 4, the full House approved legislation to provide funding levels for the HUD-VASH case management services, SSVF, and Grant and Per Diem programs equivalent to those proposed by the President in his FY 2014 Budget Proposal. On June 20, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation to provide the same funding levels for these programs proposed by the President in his budget proposal and passed by the full House. However, the VA funding legislation to the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2013. This year, Congress was also unable to reach a deal on a continuing resolution (CR), or stopgap funding measure that would have temporarily funded the government at post-sequestration FY 2013 levels until an agreement was reached, as they have done in recent years. Therefore, the government partially shut down at midnight on September 30 until, with the added pressure of a looming deadline to raise the debt ceiling, Congress was able to pass a deal on October 16 that reopened the government.
This fiscal package included measures to fund the government until January 15 at post-sequestration FY 2013 levels and delay the date on which the nation will need to address the debt ceiling to February 7. The package also set December 13 as the date by which lawmakers are expected to complete their conference report on an FY 2014 Budget Resolution, which will provide an outline for how federal funding will be spent. To do so, both chambers selected conferees to join a conference committee to reach a compromise between the different funding levels included in earlier House and Senate FY 2014 Budget Resolutions. Negotiations have thus far involved various strategies to reduce the nation's deficit, and the conference committee chairs have signaled that in order to increase the likelihood of coming to an agreement they are now striving toward a relatively modest goal, which would likely involve financing a partial easing of both FY 2014 and FY 2015 sequestration cuts by raising revenue through increasing various federal fees and making cuts to some federal benefits. It remains unclear whether any more controversial deficit reduction strategies, such as closing loopholes in the tax code or making cuts to entitlement programs, will ultimately be included in the agreement.
There is currently pressure by House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairs Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) for the conference committee to agree to a topline spending number in advance of the technical December 13 deadline. Expediting the process in this way would allow appropriators to conclude the long-delayed work on FY 2014 spending bills (including the one that funds the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program) sooner, with the goal of having an omnibus bill prepared in time to meet the set January 15 deadline to prevent another federal government shutdown. In the case that the conference committee fails to reach an agreement, plans are underway in the House to introduce a full-year FY 2014 continuing resolution (CR), or stopgap funding measure, at the relatively low $967 billion topline spending level outlined in the initial House FY 2014 Budget Resolution.
Overview of VA Homelessness Programs
The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program provides cost-effective homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing services, which have been the missing piece in VA’s range of interventions. The program is targeted toward veterans and their families who are facing imminent eviction, or are currently homeless. SSVF complements more intensive models for veterans with higher needs, including the Grant and Per Diem transitional housing programs and permanent supportive housing through HUD-VASH. VA also provides the case management portion of HUD-VASH through its regional VA Medical Centers.