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Congresswoman Joyce Beatty

Representing the 3rd District of Ohio

Representatives Stivers and Beatty Reintroduce Bill to Incentivize Assistance for Homeless Former Servicemembers

Apr 27, 2017
Press Release

Representatives Stivers and Beatty Reintroduce Bill to Incentivize Assistance for Homeless Former Servicemembers

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Today, Representatives Steve Stivers (OH-15) and Joyce Beatty (OH-03) re-introduced the Housing Our Military Servicemembers (HOMeS) Act, which would add “former servicemembers” as a subpopulation eligible for rehousing incentive payments through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  By codifying former servicemembers directly into HUD’s homeless assistance statutes, the agency can incentivize and reward housing grantees that help get all former members of the military off the streets. 

The bill also directs HUD to identify and report to Congress on a strategy to eliminate homelessness among former servicemembers who are not eligible for homelessness assistance offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“Our veteran population is particularly vulnerable to homelessness, and Congress has a responsibility to act on this problem,” Stivers said. “This bill recognizes the needs of all former servicemembers and assists housing grantees that are working hard to find these individuals the homes they deserve.  While the HOMeS Act will not solve the homelessness problem, it is an important first step.”

“Every servicemember deserves a place to call ‘Home Sweet Home,’ unfortunately many still do not,” Beatty said. “We can and must do more to help homeless servicemembers get back on their feet.” Beatty continued, “That is why I am proud to team up with Congressman Stivers to introduce the Housing Our Military Servicemembers Act which takes an important step in ensuring that all of our nation’s former servicemembers have a safe place to call home.”   

In 2009, the VA announced its effort to end homelessness among veterans.  Since that time, communities around the country, including Columbus, have made significant progress through the hard work of community shelter leaders, non-profits and government agencies.  However, many individuals who wore the uniform remain ineligible for the primary VA homeless assistance programs, like HUD-VASH. 

Additionally, little data is available on this non-VA eligible subpopulation and the specific challenges they face.  The HOMeS Act reporting requirements would help shed light on this subpopulation and ensure they are not left behind in the effort to eliminate homelessness among individuals who wore their country’s uniform.

Housing grantees compete for “bonus” funding from HUD in order to help house designated subpopulations.  By altering the U.S. Code to explicitly include former servicemembers as an eligible subpopulation, the HOMeS Act will help increase their profile for HUD homeless housing incentives.
According to data provided by HUD, the agency spent approximately $133 million on incentive payments in the fiscal year 2016. Organizations who have expressed support for the legislation include the American Legion, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS).