Senator Burr Commends the Passage of the Helping Homeless Veterans Act of 2013

Last night, the United States Senate passed S. 287, the Helping Homeless Veterans Act of 2013 which contained several provisions cosponsored by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. This important legislation will help the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) meet its goal to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015 and address barriers homeless veterans face accessing VA's homeless programs and becoming permanently housed.

"Our veterans served our country with honor and they should not be forgotten when they return home," Burr said. "Helping homeless veterans get off the street and back on their feet is our obligation, and this legislation is an important step in that direction. I thank my colleagues for continued support and look forward to working with them as this bill moves forward in the legislative process."

In 2009, VA set a goal to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015, uniting the country around this effort. In collaboration with other Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Community partners, VA offers a variety of veteran-centered services to meet the needs of homeless veterans including, medical, dental, and mental health care, outreach to high risk populations, and a number of housing solutions. In addition, VA and its partners also provide preventive services to those veterans at risk of becoming homeless, such as foreclosure prevention, financial assistance for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing, employment and job placement services, education opportunities, and substance abuse treatment.

Since 2009, there has been a 17 percent decline in the number of homeless veterans. However, according to the latest homeless count conducted in January 2012, there were still more than 62,000 homeless veterans. VA's FY 2011 Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Group (CHALENG) report identified access to legal services as one of the top unmet needs among homeless veterans. Additionally, there are still several barriers that prevent homeless women from utilizing VA programs, which were identified in several audits conducted by both the Department's Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office over the past two years.

Both legal services and women's issues are addressed in the legislation. To read more about the Helping Homeless Veterans Act of 2013, click here for the one-page summary.