Rep. Reichert Applauds House Passage of "The Honoring America's Veterans Act"

Today, U.S. Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA) applauded passage of H.R. 1627, “The Honoring America’s Veterans Act,” which includes the “Housing for Heroes”  bill language (H.R. 5830), which Rep. Reichert introduced in May with Rep. Tim Walz. The Reichert-Walz bill to combat veterans’ homelessness is endorsed by multiple state and national veterans’ organizations, including the American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Veterans, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Housing for Heroes” ensures that more non-profits serving veterans have the ability to compete for federal resources through the Veterans’ Affairs Grant and Per Diem Program (GPD),  designated to combat veterans’ homelessness. This fix will allow these non-profits to put roofs over the heads of those who have risked their lives for our freedom and now find themselves homeless.

“After everything that our veterans have done and continue to do for our country, it is our duty to take away as many roadblocks as possible so that they’re able to achieve full and healthy lives when they return home,” said Rep. Reichert. “I introduced this bill because it’s a solution that will enable more organizations to take advantage of already existing grants that provide our homeless veterans with housing. Our veterans deserve safe and healthy places to live. I’m proud that we can help make the process of housing them simpler and widely accessible. It’s what we should do.”

It is estimated that 67,495 veterans are homeless, a disproportionate share of the population. According to the National Survey of Homeless Veterans, conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs, homeless veterans report being homeless significantly longer than their non-veteran counterparts and suffer a higher incidence of various health conditions.

The American Legion’s National Commander Fang Wong wrote in support of Congressman Reichert’s efforts to combat veterans’ homelessness, “On behalf of the nation’s largest veterans service organization, the 2.4 million members of The American Legion, I express support for H.R. 5830, the Housing for Heroes Act.” Wong continued, “The American Legion has long been committed to supporting policies and programs that will provide housing and other resources to meet the needs of homeless veterans.”  

“Our veterans fight a war abroad. Why should they have to fight another war at home?  Over 67,000 veterans are homeless on any given night,” said Sharon H. Lee, Executive Director of the Low Income Housing Institute of Seattle, WA. “We applaud Congressman Reichert as his bill is sorely needed and will allow more homeless veterans to benefit from the V.A.’s largest housing initiative, the Grant and Per Diem Program.“

“The importance of this bill on the impact of both old and new veterans is enormous,” said Joe Ingram, Executive Director of Vets Edge and himself a formerly homeless veteran. “It builds a foundation for rebuilding veterans’ faith in their government.”

“The VA Grant Per Diem program is a great program that supports the efforts of veterans who are struggling to live stable fulfilling lives,” said Rick Friedhoff, Executive Director of Compass Housing Alliance in Seattle, WA. “Legislation that improves the workability of this great program would benefit veterans and communities seeking to provide clean, safe and affordable housing for veterans, their families and people in need.”

The encompassing “Honoring America’s Veterans Act” is a comprehensive, bipartisan, bicameral legislative package to provide for the needs of veterans, their families and survivors through improving healthcare, housing, education and memorial services.

Floor speech by Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health Chairwoman Representative Ann Marie Buerkle regarding the contribution of Rep. Reichert and importance of his bill can be found is here. (3:16)

The endorsement letter from The American Legion can be found here.