Bond Announces Federal Help for Missouri’s Homeless Veterans

Bond Announces Federal Help for Missouri’s
Homeless Veterans

Senator:  Funds are a Fitting Tribute as
Nation Celebrates Independence Day

WASHINGTON, D.C.
– U.S. Senator Kit Bond today announced that Missouri is receiving federal funds
from the Departments of Labor and Housing and Urban Development to help homeless
veterans.

 

“Our nation’s
veterans are owed more than a blanket and a hot meal,” said Bond. “As our nation
celebrates Independence Day these funds are a way of saying thanks to the
patriots who sacrificed for our freedom. This money is an important part of the
government’s efforts in ending the unacceptable tragedy of homelessness among
our veterans by providing the health care, mental health care, transitional
services, and housing they need to be integrated back into their communities and
former lives”

 

Bond announced
that the St. Patrick Center in St. Louis is receiving $300,000 in federal funds
as part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration
Program (HVRP).  Under the HVRP, homeless veterans will receive occupational,
classroom and on-the-job training, including job search, placement assistance
and follow-up services.  The program also assists veterans with supportive
services such as shelter, counseling, transportation and clothing.  The funds
are being awarded to the St. Patrick Center in St. Louis. Bond praised the St.
Patrick’s Center for their critical work. St. Patrick’s is the largest provider
of homeless services in Missouri, with more than 20 programs assisting more than
9,000 persons annually who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The
center helps individuals and families move from homelessness to independence in
a measurable, cost-effective manner.

 

Bond also
announced that Missouri’s Public Housing Authorities are receiving vouchers
through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs
Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program.   As part of this announcement, the St.
Louis Housing Authority will receive 35 vouchers, the Columbia Housing Authority
will receive 35 vouchers, and the Springfield Housing Authority will receive 35
vouchers.  HUD-VASH is a joint program between HUD and the U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA), which provides Section 8 vouchers to house homeless
veterans. Under this program, veterans will be able to use Section 8 and the
supportive services they need to be integrated back into their communities and
former lives, emphasized Bond.

 

Bond, who has
fought to improve and streamline the VA since he chaired the Senate
Appropriations subcommittee that funded the agency, pointed out ongoing problems
in meeting homeless veterans’ needs.  Bond reactivated the U.S. Interagency
Council on Homelessness in 2000 to improve federal coordination of homeless
assistance programs, increased funding for VA programs to prevent and end
homelessness, and worked with Senator Murray (D-WA) to provide permanent housing
through the HUD-VASH program.  While these measures were important steps, the
Senator stressed that the VA needs to do more and partner better with its
federal partners and local providers to help get homeless veterans off the
street.

 

According to
recent government estimates, about 15 percent of the homeless using shelters in
the U.S. are veterans. Bond also pointed out that homelessness is a major
problem among Iraq and Vietnam veterans, particularly those who are not insured
and may have both physical and psychological problems like Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

 

Bond, a
long-time leader in the fight to end homelessness and ranking member of the
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Transportation, Housing and Urban
Development, secured $75 million in federal funds with Senator Patty Murray
(D-WA) to start this new partnership between HUD and the VA to help homeless
veterans in the fiscal year 2009 Transportation-Housing spending bill.

 

Also, in May,
the bill cosponsored by Senators Bond and Jack Reed (D-RI), the Homeless
Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, was signed
into law. The HEARTH Act builds upon programs, like permanent supportive
housing, and provides $2.2 billion for targeted homelessness assistance grant
programs; increase current levels of funding for homelessness assistance grants
by $600 millions and allocate up to $440 million for homelessness prevention
initiatives. It will also expand the definition for homelessness to allow
families on the verge of becoming homeless to qualify for assistance and will
reauthorize federal homelessness aid programs for the first time since
1989.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login