New Bill Passed for Homeless Veterans
Posted by Shaida Hossein on
January 3, 2017 11:25 AM
A Update from National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
Hill Watch: H.R. 6416 and the CR
What Congress’s last week of the year means for homeless veterans
Having finished their planned work two weeks ago, Congress has left town for the year. When they return in January it will be to open the 115th Congress, and with it will come a new blank slate of possibilities for helping homeless veterans. But right before they left town, Congress passed two bills of interest; H.R. 6416 and the continuing resolution (CR).
Very early in the morning on Dec. 10, the U.S. Senate passed, by unanimous consent, H.R. 6416, the “Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016”. This bill contained several provisions related to veteran homelessness, some of the highlights of which included:
- Permanently authorizing the use of VA homeless programs by veterans with “Other Than Honorable” discharges,
- Updating VA’s definition of homelessness, to include the McKinney-Vento updates which allow individuals fleeing domestic violence to be considered homeless,
- Authorizing a higher Per Diem rate to be paid to Transition in Place programs,
- Creating a program to allow for follow-up case management for veterans who have successfully completed a GPD program,
- Adding provisions designed to ease the transition for any GPD that wishes shift to units to permanent housing, and
- Permanently authorizing the National Center for Homelessness Among Veterans.
The CR was passed earlier on in the same legislative day as H.R. 6416, and narrowly averted a governmental shutdown that was almost triggered by a procedural fight over miners’ healthcare. The agreement that was reached funds the federal government at the level of the last fiscal year until it expires in April, 2017. The current plan is to have the new Congress and President tackle the funding provisions when they arrive in D.C. beginning in January.
It is important to note that the Department of Veteran’s Affairs is not covered by the CR. Legislation governing the funding levels for this fiscal year at VA was passed several months ago (as part of a previous CR), and therefore negates the need for a continuing resolution in the part of the federal government. You can read NCHV’s message on the VA funding by clicking here.