Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that provisions she co-sponsored to expand and improve programs for homeless veterans and their families passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent. The Helping Homeless Veterans Act of 2013 would improve VA's programs for homeless and at-risk veteran families.
"Those who heroically served America in the military should not find themselves struggling to find a bed to sleep in or a meal to eat," said Senator Murray. "With new servicemembers returning home every day and the economy on the road to recovery, it is critically important to continue supporting programs that help our veterans and their families access stable housing. I remain committed to providing America's veterans and their families with the sense of security and dignity they all deserve."
In 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) set a goal to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015. In collaboration with other Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Community partners, VA provides a host of veteran-centered services to the homeless including, medical, dental, and mental health care, outreach to high risk populations, and a continuum of housing options. VA and its partners also provide preventive services such as foreclosure prevention, financial assistance for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing, employment and job placement services, education opportunities, and substance abuse treatment to those veterans who may be at risk of becoming homeless. Much progress has been made, as evidenced by the over 17 percent decline in homeless veterans since 2009. Despite this progress there were still more than 62,000 homeless veterans in January 2012.