Yesterday, Congresswoman Janice Hahn (CA-44) and Congressman Jon Runyan (NJ-03), introduced H.R. 897, which expands the definition of "homeless veteran" to include those fleeing domestic violence.
"Veterans have put their lives on the line for our country and should never find themselves without a safe home to come back to just because they don't fall under the proper definitions," said Congresswoman Hahn. "By making this small yet significant change, veterans fleeing situations of domestic violence will have access to the tools they need."
"Our nation's veterans have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and liberties and it is our duty to ensure they are taken care of when they return home. It is most important that the benefits they have earned are not taken away due to technicalities. This is why I am pleased to join with Congresswoman Hahn in introducing legislation that would fill the gaps on the definition of homeless veterans to include veterans fleeing domestic violence," said Congressman Jon Runyan, Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a number of programs to assist homeless veterans, however, the outdated definition of "homelessness" could cause problems for victims of domestic violence. H.R. 897 would correct and expand the Department of Veterans Affairs' definition of "homeless veteran" to include veterans fleeing situations of domestic violence and other life threatening situations. By expanding the definition, it brings it to the same standard as the rest of the law and will allow those veterans to access the benefits that should be available to all homeless veterans.
H.R. 897 has already garnered the support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), The Association of the US Navy, The Service Women's Action Network, The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, Veterans for Common Sense, The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.