HOMES Act takes aim at helping veterans experiencing homelessness

New legislation introduced by Washington Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland aims to provide more resources for veterans facing homelessness.

The Housing Opportunities to Mitigate Expenses for Services (HOMES) Act was designed to "reduce barriers and make it easier for organizations who provide homes and services to veterans experiencing homelessness to access federal capital grants."

"As the South Sound experiences both a housing shortage and a pandemic, it remains difficult for military veterans to find safe, secure and affordable housing. So many organizations working to end veteran homelessness rely on federal funding, but burdensome and costly red tape can limit their efforts," said Strickland. "I am proud to lead the HOMES for our Veterans Act, which empowers service providers to give veterans experiencing homelessness the support they deserve to get back on their feet. We owe it to our veterans to give them the best possible chance to thrive, and that is exactly what this legislation will do."

The VA's Grant Per Diem program funds community agencies that provide services to veterans experiencing homelessness, and the HOMES Act waives those agencies' requirement to match 35% of project costs for five years—the bottom line being the VA will foot the bill for projects supporting homeless veterans, and after five years they can reinstate a match requirement of up to 30%.

The HOMES Act also nixes the requirement for ‘real property disposition,’ meaning Grant Per Diem recipients can change the services they provide as needs shift.

"By continuing flexibilities for facility improvements, the HOMES for our Veterans Act would allow more homeless veterans to shelter with regard for their health, safety, and well-being as advised by the Centers for Disease Control. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) appreciates the attention Representative Strickland has given to this issue in this crucial legislation and we look forward to working with her to help it become law." said National Coalition of Homeless Veterans CEO Kathryn Monet.

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