(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Appropriations Subcommittee and a key member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, today announced that the $75 million she secured is being distributed to help 10,070 homeless veterans across the country, including 250 in Washington state.
Murray, along with Senator Kit Bond (R-Missouri), added the $75 million for HUD's Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) into her fiscal year 2008 transportation and housing funding bill.
Murray added the funding to target housing assistance and support services for homeless veterans – including those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan - after the Administration – including VA and HUD – failed to request a single penny.
"No one who has fought and sacrificed for our nation should ever have to come home and sleep on our streets. Our veterans are our nation's heroes and our country needs to be doing everything we can to ensure they have housing and the dignity that comes with it," Murray said.
The $75 million in HUD-VASH funding will provide local public housing agencies across the country with approximately 10,000 rental assistance vouchers specifically targeted to assist homeless veterans in their area. In addition, Murray has required the VA and HUD to link local public housing agencies with VA Medical Centers to provide supportive services and case management to eligible homeless veterans.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 of all of America's homeless are veterans.
Murray has held homeless veterans roundtables across Washington state to discuss the challenge of preventing and ending homelessness among veterans. She has brought together housing and community leaders as well as veterans and advocates to hear about what is working and what isn't on a local level.
In March, Murray heard from officials in Cowlitz County that 1,100 of their veterans are homeless or living in transitional housing.
"For too long homeless veterans have been forgotten heroes. I want them to know that they are not forgotten and that I will continue to hold the VA and HUD accountable for providing the services our veterans need and deserve," Murray said.
In Washington state, the HUD-VASH funding will be distributed to help veterans in the coverage area of the following VA Medical Centers (the coverage area extends beyond the cities where these centers are located):
Seattle – 105 veterans
American Lake – 35 veterans
Spokane – 35 veterans
Walla Walla – 70 veterans
Using her Chairmanship of the Transportation and Housing Appropriations Subcommittee and her role on the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray will bring both committees together for a joint hearing on issues impacting our nation's homeless veterans. That hearing is scheduled for May 1st.