Dear Chairman Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price,
We are writing to request that the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee continue robust funding for programs that provide assistance for homeless veterans. Specifically, we request $47 million for the HUD-VASH program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, which is the FY2017 enacted level.
According to the most recent Annual Homeless Assistance Report issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 553,742 people were homeless across the United States on any given night. While homelessness among veterans has fallen by 45 percent since 2009, veteran homelessness still remains a problem. In fact, last year the number of veterans experiencing homelessness increased for the first time since 2010. An estimated 40,056 veterans were homeless on a given night in 2017. These figures illustrate the progress we have accomplished, but more importantly the continued need for HUD-VASH assistance.
The HUD-VASH program has been highly successful in helping our nation's veterans escape homelessness each year. The program combines rental assistance, in the form of a HUD voucher, with case management and supportive services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). By combining services, the HUD-VASH program helps homeless veterans return to being self-sufficient members of their community. Through community outreach, we have witnessed the benefits of the HUD-VASH voucher program in our districts. Veterans are provided the stable environment necessary for addressing the factors that led to their homelessness.
Homelessness among veterans--even one veteran--is unacceptable. We must continue to fund the highly-successful HUD-VASH program until homelessness has been eliminated among all veterans. As your Subcommittee considers the FY 2019 Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill, we ask that you support funding for our homeless veterans and specifically the HUD-VASH program. Thank you for your consideration and attention to this matter.