Press Release

Congressman Cuellar’s Language to Help Homeless Veterans in Laredo Passes Full House

Language would assist homeless veterans with housing, furniture, household items and other supplies

f t # e
WASHINGTON, May 20, 2016 | Riley Brands (202-226-0507) | comments

Today Congressman Henry Cuellar announced the passage by the full U.S. House of the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. The bill passed on a vote of 295-129 Thursday Thursday and includes language by the congressman to support homeless veterans in Laredo.

Congressman Cuellar’s language has several parts.

First, it encourages the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to work with local service agencies, particularly in small and rural communities, to ensure that voucher recipients of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program (HUD-VASH) are getting the most comprehensive services available. HUD-VASH is a cross-agency program charged with providing housing to homeless veterans.

The provision also calls on the VA to partner with local and state governments to innovate ways to provide for homeless veterans and requests a report from the VA on the number of vouchers received by different types of veterans living in different types of areas.

Congressman Cuellar has been concerned about discrepancies between the number of homeless veterans in Laredo and the number of HUD-VASH vouchers available. While the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) counted 15 homeless veterans in the annual Homeless Point-in-Time survey in early 2016, the Laredo Homeless Coalition, an advocacy group for the Laredo homeless population, has taken these numbers and estimated that Laredo has 107 veterans either homeless or at risk of homelessness. The number of vouchers that the VA gives out is determined by a number of factors, including HUD’s annual Point-In-Time Survey, which is meant to be a snapshot of the local homeless veteran population. The Laredo VA Outpatient Clinic is concerned that not enough vouchers are available and is requesting an increase from 15 to 50.

The second provision recognizes that homeless veterans’ challenges don’t stop at finding permanent housing. They also need basic necessities, such as furniture, basic household items and other basic assistance. The congressman’s provision requests a report to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee on the feasibility of a program for organizations to provide these supplies to newly housed veterans.

“I have long been a supporter of our armed forces and the men and women who sacrifice so much for our country,” Congressman Cuellar said. “That is why it is so essential that we honor their service by doing whatever we can to help our veterans succeed and thrive after returning to civilian life. The discrepancy between the number of homeless veterans in Laredo and the number of HUD-VASH vouchers available underscores the need for greater support for local homeless veterans in the form of housing. Once these veterans are housed, we must then make sure that we provide them with the furniture and supplies they need to live a productive life. We owe it to our veterans to make sure they are taken care of when they return home. With the passage of this bill by the House, we are one step closer to making this happen.”

To read the language the congressman included, please click here.
f t # e