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Veteran's Health Care Improvement Act Of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

VETERANS' HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - July 30, 2007)


Mr. PATRICK J. MURPHY of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to give voice to a terrible injustice. On any given night in America, nearly 200,000 veterans go homeless and twice as many will go homeless over the course of the year. This is shameful.

In my district in southeastern Pennsylvania, this problem is very real. There are more than 3,300 homeless veterans in Pennsylvania and at least 550 in the greater Philadelphia area alone. These are veterans who saw combat in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

As someone who spent 10 years in the Army and walked the streets of Baghdad, I cannot stand by while more of my fellow soldiers go hungry and seek shelter. Over the last 3 years, as many as 1,300 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have participated in homeless outreach programs by the VA in their community. Who knows how many others went without help.

That's why, Mr. Speaker, I proudly support the Veterans' Health Care Improvement Act, which looks after those who have sacrificed so much for our country.

This much-needed bill makes permanent a program to identify at-risk servicemembers to prevent them from ever becoming homeless once they leave the military. With the rapidly increasing number of women veterans, the bill also instructs the VA to make their programs for homeless veterans more accommodating for female veterans.

I was proud to introduce these important provisions, and I thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Filner), and the gentleman from Maine (Mr. Michaud), for bringing this bill to the floor and their leadership on this issue. These brave American veterans, who once faced down our enemies, shouldn't have to face one more night out on the street.


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