Congressman Al Green’s Statement on Funding for Homeless Veteran Supportive Housing

Mar 22, 2018

Washington, D.C. (March 22, 2018) – Today, Representatives Al Green (D-TX) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) led a bi-partisan letter to the Appropriations Committee with 117 members of Congress to support $47 million in funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. President Trump’s budget request for FY 2019 effectively zeroed out the program.

The HUD-VASH program combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Its success is part of the reason why homelessness among veterans has fallen by 45 percent since 2009. Unfortunately, last year the number of veterans experiencing homelessness increased for the first time since 2010, and HUD estimates there are currently 40,056 homeless veterans.
“It is simply unacceptable that, after bravely serving our country, any veteran would find themselves living on the streets,” said Congressman Al Green. “The HUD-VASH program has provided our most vulnerable veterans with housing assistance and clinical care that they so desperately need. We cannot reduce funding for this valuable program and I am proud to have led this bi-partisan letter in support of our nation’s veterans. ”

“For the first time since 2010, we saw veteran homelessness increase in 2017. We cannot let this trend continue," said Congresswoman Lee. "Our veterans deserve a safe place to live when they return home. Programs like HUD-VASH should serve as a model for ending veteran homeless in America. I look forward to working with members of both parties to make sure this program receives ample funding.”

The letter was signed by 117 members:

Alma S. Adams (D-NC), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Ami Bera (D-CA), Donald Beyer,Jr. (D-VA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Robert A. Brady (D-PA), Anthony G Brown (D-MD), Julia Brownley (D-CA), G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), Michael E. Capuano (D-MA), Salud O. Carbajal (D-CA), Andre' Carson (D-IN), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Judy Chu (D-CA), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), Diana DeGette (D-CO), John K. Delaney (D-MD), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL),  Keith Ellison (D-MN), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Elizabeth H. Esty (D-CT),  Dwight Evans (D-PA), Bill Foster (D-IL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), John Garamendi (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Denny Heck (D-WA), Brian Higgins (D-LA), Jim Himes (D-CT), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), William R. Keating (D-MA),Robin L. Kelly (D-IL), Ruben J. Kihuen (D-NV), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI), Ron Kind (D-WI), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Al Lawson (D-FL), John B. Larson (D-CT), John Lewis (D-GA), Ted W. Lieu (D-CA), Sander M. Levin (D-MI), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Richard M. Nolan (D-MN), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), Jimmy Panetta (D-PA), Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Scott H. Peters (D-CA), Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Stacey E. Plaskett (D-VI), Jared Polis (D-CO), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Kathleen M. Rice (D-NY), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-MP), Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA), Terri A. Sewell (D-LA), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Brad Sherman (D-CA),  Albio Sires (D-NJ), Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), Darren Soto (D-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Timothy J. Walz (MN), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), John A. Yarmuth (D-KY)

The full text of the letter can be found below:

Dear Chairman Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price,

We are writing to request that the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee continue robust funding for programs that provide assistance for homeless veterans. Specifically, we request $47 million for the HUD-VASH program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, which is the FY2017 enacted level.
According to the most recent Annual Homeless Assistance Report issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 553,742 people were homeless across the United States on any given night. While homelessness among veterans has fallen by 45 percent since 2009, veteran homelessness still remains a problem. In fact, last year the number of veterans experiencing homelessness increased for the first time since 2010. An estimated 40,056 veterans were homeless on a given night in 2017.  These figures illustrate the progress we have accomplished, but more importantly the continued need for HUD-VASH assistance.
The HUD-VASH program has been highly successful in helping our nation’s veterans escape homelessness each year. The program combines rental assistance, in the form of a HUD voucher, with case management and supportive services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). By combining services, the HUD-VASH program helps homeless veterans return to being self-sufficient members of their community. Through community outreach, we have witnessed the benefits of the HUD-VASH voucher program in our districts. Veterans are provided the stable environment necessary for addressing the factors that led to their homelessness.
Homelessness among veterans—even one veteran—is unacceptable. We must continue to fund the highly-successful HUD-VASH program until homelessness has been eliminated among all veterans. As your Subcommittee considers the FY 2019 Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill, we ask that you support funding for our homeless veterans and specifically the HUD-VASH program. Thank you for your consideration and attention to this matter.