On Wednesday, Representative Brad Wenstrup (OH-02), a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and combat veteran, introduced legislation to help veterans gain access to vital job training programs. Currently, homeless veterans are eligible for job training and placement services under the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP). Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor has determined that some homeless veterans are not eligible to participate in this existing program. Specifically, the Department of Labor has concluded veterans who are participating in another program, known as the HUD-VASH voucher program, are not considered truly "homeless", and are therefore ineligible for the very programs that will help them re-enter the workforce and get them back on their feet.
"Our veterans have sacrificed deeply for our country. We should not let Washington bureaucrats stand in the way of assisting those who need our help the most," said Rep. Wenstrup. "This legislation will help homeless veterans find housing and meaningful employment to lift themselves out of poverty and into self-sufficiency, free from government dependence."
House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller said, "It is simply unconscionable that the Department of Labor is denying some of America's most vulnerable veterans a path to self-sufficiency. This bill aims to break the cycle of government dependence among some veterans by ensuring those who are living in government-subsidized housing have the tools they need to land a good job and achieve independence. It's an honest solution to a pressing problem, and I commend Congressman Wenstrup for introducing this bill."
The Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) partner to provide permanent, supportive housing and treatment services for homeless veterans. This program provides "Housing Choice" vouchers across the country that allow veterans and their families to live in market rate rental housing while VA provides case management services. For more details on how the program works, please click here. The HUD-VASH Program is for the most vulnerable veterans, and provides special services for women veterans, those recently returning from combat zones, and veterans with disabilities.
The Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) provides services to assist in reintegrating homeless veterans into meaningful employment and to help address the complex problems facing homeless veterans. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis to eligible applicants such as state and local Workforce Investment boards; public agencies; for-profit/commercial entities; and non-profit organizations, including faith based and community based organizations. The program is "employment focused" and veterans receive the employment and training services they need to re-enter the labor force.