News Releases

Despite repeated campaign promises to help veterans, President Trump’s VA Secretary undermines key homelessness program in Washington state and around country 

Politico: The HUD-VASH program has “dramatically reduced homelessness among chronically sick and vulnerable veterans”

Senator Murray: “…by turning his back on homeless veterans, President Trump has hit a new low”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of both the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, sharply criticized President Trump after VA Secretary David Shulkin announced steps to undermine a key program to combat veteran homelessness by stripping away essential funds for supportive services. Known as HUD-VASH, the program helps veterans across the country by providing housing vouchers that combine rental assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Since 2008, when Senator Murray helped restart HUD-VASH, the program has helped more than 100,000 homeless veterans.

Last month, Senator Murray and every member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee overseeing spending related to veterans wrote a letter to VA Secretary Shulkin expressing serious concern over any changes to funding and its potential impacts to critical veteran programs, specifically citing the successful HUD-VASH program.

“President Trump has taken a lot of reckless steps over the past year, but by turning his back on homeless veterans, President Trump has hit a new low,” Senator Murray said. “I strongly believe this country has a responsibility to care for the brave men and women who served our country, and as I’ve stated for years, if VA needs additional resources or better policy, I’m always ready to figure out bipartisan solutions. But simply pulling the rug out from under a successful program—leaving veterans and those providing them housing and supportive services in the lurch-- is mean-spirited and wrong, and I will fight this change with every tool I have. The decision to shift money away from the supportive services veterans urgently need is especially callous and perplexing on the same day that the Administration released data showing a nationwide increase in the number of homeless veterans since last year.”