The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs advanced a bill to the full House for consideration, which includes provisions amended into it introduced by Rep. David McKinley that would protect our most vulnerable veterans.
This legislation would require any organization that seeks funding from Veterans Administration (VA) for services to homeless veterans to have documentation that their building meets or exceeds all Life Safety Codes. Additionally, the Safe Housing for Homeless Veterans Act (H.R. 4079) would require the VA to report on the safety conditions of homeless shelters in its annual report to Congress.
"I am comforted that my construction background was helpful for our veterans. After touring homeless shelters in the 1st District of West Virginia and witnessing the conditions with my own eyes, we began to investigate whether those having difficulties were isolated cases or part of a bigger problem," said McKinley.
"We learned in our research about shelter fires where lives were lost because of numerous code violations," said Rep. McKinley. "This bill will ensure our homeless veterans have access to safe shelters nationwide and was supported by the National Coalition of the Homeless, the National Association of State Fire Marshalls and the American Legion."
"As a nation, it should be unacceptable for us to allow homeless veterans be housed in potentially unsafe conditions," said Rep. McKinley. "In defense of our country, these men and women were put in harm's way; they should not be in doubt about their own safety now that they are home again. These homeless veterans experiencing difficulties should be able to trust that they will be safe each night."
The House has passed 16 Committee-reported veterans bills this Congress, four of which are now law.