The day before the Veterans' Affairs Committee considers eight bills that would have major impacts on vets across America, Senator Mazie K. Hirono filed three amendments designed to specifically help vets in Hawaii access federal veterans' programs. Two of Hirono's amendments would help unemployed Native Hawaiian and Hawaii Island veterans access programs to help get jobs. Another Hirono amendment would ensure that Native Hawaiian-serving organizations are eligible to be considered for public/private partnerships to assist homeless vets.
The committee will consider eight bills tomorrow, including legislation that will help jobless vets find employment opportunities, improve assistance for homeless vets, improve care for female vets and align benefits with increases in cost of living.
"Hawaii's veterans served and sacrificed for our freedoms, and we must provide the support they deserve. Among the eight bills my Veterans' Affairs Committee colleagues and I will consider are proposals that would help veterans get jobs and help provide more assistance to homeless vets. Over the past weeks, I have explored ways that these programs could work better for Hawaii veterans, and today I am filing three amendments that will improve programs for Native Hawaiian and Hawaii Island vets. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee to get these measures adopted during tomorrow's mark-up."
Below are summaries of Hirono's three amendments:
*Transportation Assistance For Hawaii Island Veterans In New Jobs Programs:
With more than 80 miles between towns like Hawi and Hilo, Hawaii Island's geography can make transportation a challenge for some Hawaii veterans seeking to participate in new U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employment assistance programs. Hirono's amendment would enable veterans to receive transportation subsidies for commutes up to 150 miles to and from their job site.
*Outreach To Native Hawaiian Veterans For New Jobs Programs:
Native Hawaiian veterans and native veterans who do not live on tribal lands are not mentioned in the bill, which potentially excludes them from targeted outreach efforts. Hirono's amendment essentially expands the scope of native veteran outreach to include organizations that serve these populations.
*Include Native Hawaiian Organizations For Public/Private Partnerships Providing Legal Services To Homeless Veterans:
Hirono's amendment includes Native Hawaiian-serving organizations among the entities the VA can consider in distributing the partnerships with public/private entities to provide legal services to homeless veterans.