FY 2009 Appropriations
Key highlights of the Department of Labor veterans programs:
Last September FY 2009 appropriations bills for the Departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Defense were signed into law. That measure included an additional $7.5 million for VA's Homeless Grant and Per Diem (GPD) liaisons, an additional $8 million which brought the GPD to its full authorization level of $130 million, and an additional $30 million for the HUD-VASH program for any increase in authorized vouchers (directing VA to increase caseworkers if needed for the increase in vouchers). VA was directed to provide at least $5 million for caseworkers for the HUD demonstration program of homeless prevention among the veteran population.
DOL Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization
On March 30 the House of Representatives passed H. R. 1171, the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, which reauthorizes the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program for fiscal years 2010 through 2014. Introduced by Representative John Boozman (R-AR-3), the bill was amended to authorize an additional $10 million to provide dedicated services for homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children. Grants would be made available to provide job training, counseling, placement services, and child care services to expedite the reintegration of veterans into the labor force. Earlier in March NCHV testified before the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity expressing support for the bill.
Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund
During the March 4 House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity hearing, NCHV also provided comments regarding H.R. 147, a bill introduced by Representative Steve Israel (D-2-NY). The legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow taxpayers to designate a portion of their income tax payment to provide assistance to homeless veterans through a Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund. The Fund would be a trust fund established in the Treasury of the United States. Giving conditional support for the bill, NCHV was asked to work with Representative Israel’s staff to develop comprehensive guidelines for the Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund.
Veterans Permanent Supportive Housing
To address the need to establish permanent supportive housing for veterans, Representative Al Green (D-TX) has reintroduced H.R. 304, the Homes for Heroes Act of 2009, a bill that would provide permanent supportive housing for low income veterans. In the 110th Congress the bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 412-9. A companion bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate in early May.
On March 11, President Barack Obama signed into law, P.L. 111-8, an omnibus bill containing the remaining FY 2009 appropriations bills. Provisions contained in this legislation added new targeted and mainstream resources to prevent and end homelessness in the nation.