Rounds, Loeffler propose reducing Veteran Homelessness Act in Senate

U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) recently unveiled legislation to prevent and decrease homelessness among the nation’s military veterans.

“These are men and women who’ve served and sacrificed for us — they deserve every benefit they’ve earned,” said Sen. Rounds. “Our legislation seeks to make sure every veteran has the resources they need to find a home.”

Sen. Rounds on Oct. 23 signed on as the original cosponsor of the Reducing Veteran Homelessness Act of 2020, S. 4858, with bill sponsor Sen. Loeffler. The measure would amend a 2012 law to enhance certain grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to entities that provide services to homeless veterans, according to the congressional record bill summary.

“Every single veteran should have a place to call home,” Sen. Rounds said. “While we’ve made progress over the past decade at reducing the number of veterans experiencing homelessness, there are still too many vets without a roof over their heads.”

If enacted, S. 4858 would improve the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. 

Specific changes would include requiring the VA to contract out vacant HUD-VASH case worker positions to qualified community providers if a VA Medical Center has not used more than 15 percent of its HUD-VASH voucher allocation in the previous year, and has had a HUD-VASH case manager position vacant for over nine months, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Rounds’ office.

Additionally, the bill would authorize an increase in the per diem payments for community participants in the GPD program, and permit GPD participants to use GPD funds to access their local Homeless Management Information System to track the outcomes of homeless veterans, according to the summary.

“It’s unacceptable that these heroes suffer from homelessness and lack access to resources they desperately need and earned,” Loeffler said. “As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I am proud to introduce the Reducing Veteran Homelessness Act to combat this serious issue and ensure no American hero spends another night without a roof over their heads.”

U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and U.S. Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) on Sept. 16 introduced the same-named companion legislation, H.R. 8275, in their chamber.