House Bills Introduced to Assist Low-Income Veterans

On Jan. 9, Rep. Al Green (D-TX) introduced two bills aimed to address homelessness among low-income veterans and their families. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, on any given night in the United States, 49,933 veterans experience homelessness. Additionally, approximately 12 percent of the homeless adult population are veterans.

H.R. 251, the Homes for Heroes Act of 2015, would establish the position of Special Assistant for Veterans’ Affairs at HUD. The bill would also require an annual report on veterans’ homelessness. While the current administration has submitted a veterans’ homeless assessment report annually, the veteran component report is not mandated by law. The measure, which currently has 17 co-sponsors, was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. The bill was introduced in the 113th Congress and passed the House by a vote of 420 to 3, but was never taken up by the Senate and thus died at the end of the last Congress.

The second bill, H.R. 252, the Comprehensive Homes for Heroes Act of 2015, would authorize the HUD Secretary to provide assistance to nonprofits and consumer cooperatives to expand the supply of supportive housing for very low-income veteran households. The assistance authorized under the bill could be awarded as planning grants, capital advance funds, project-based rental assistance, or tenant-based rental assistance. The measure would exclude veterans' benefits from income for purposes of rent determination for HUD-assisted housing.