Bill is Based on Successful California Program that Provides Homeless Veterans with Critical Household Items and Assistance to Help in Transition to Permanent HousingJanuary 21, 2015 - Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today introduced theHomeless Veterans Welcome Home Act of 2015, legislation that would establish a national pilot program to provide furniture, household items, and other assistance to help homeless veterans as they transition into permanent housing.
(Left: Barbara Boxer)
“When many homeless veterans finally obtain permanent housing, they arrive with few or no possessions,” Senator Boxer said. “This grant program will assist veterans by providing them with basic household items – such as a bed or utensils– to help them successfully make the transition to civilian life.”
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), approximately 40,000 homeless veteran families receive permanent housing through VA housing assistance programs each year. However, most veterans who receive housing do not have the means to pay for critical household items and typically move into empty apartments. These veterans often have no means to cook or enjoy the basic comforts of a furnished home.
In 2012, the non-profit California Department of AMVETS partnered with the West Los Angeles VA to create an innovative “Welcome Home” program that provides homeless veterans transitioning into permanent housing with furniture, appliances, and other necessary household items. The program has since expanded to serve Long Beach, San Diego, Orange County and Fresno communities and has provided household items to over 1,450 formerly homeless veterans.
The Homeless Veterans Welcome Home Act of 2015 is modeled on this successful public-private partnership, and will help fill an important gap in our assistance to homeless veterans by addressing their immediate move-in needs.
Specifically, the Boxer-Feinstein bill would:
- Establish a 3-year pilot program to award grants to eligible organizations to facilitate the delivery of furniture, household items and other assistance to homeless veterans who qualify for housing under the VA’s housing assistance programs.
- Require the VA to prioritize communities with the greatest need of homeless services and fair geographic distribution when awarding grants.
- Cap the maximum amount awarded per grant at $500,000, and the maximum amount of assistance provided to an eligible veteran at $2,500.
- Authorize $5 million for 3 years to be appropriated for the program.