With more than 1 million active-duty personnel scheduled to join the ranks of America’s 22 million Veterans during the next five years, the President has proposed a $140.3 billion budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA.) And according to the VA, in the past year, the number of Veterans homeless on a given night has declined from 76,300 in 2010 to about 67,500 in 2011.
“As our newest Veterans return home, we must give them the care, the benefits, the job opportunities and the respect they have earned, while honoring our commitments to Veterans of previous eras,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.
The proposed Veterans Administration (VA) budget contains nearly $1.4 billion for programs that prevent or treat homelessness among Veterans. This is an increase of 33%, or $333 million, over the 2012 level, continuing the Department’s steady progress toward ending Veteran homelessness by 2015.
Here are some highlights. By emphasizing rescue and prevention, the budget request envisions driving down the numbers to 35,000 by the end of fiscal year 2013. Some specific efforts funded in the new budget are:
$21 million to provide 200 coordinators who will help homeless Veterans with disability claims, housing problems, job and vocational opportunities, and problems with the courts;
$300 million to provide grants and technical assistance to community non-profits to maintain Veterans and their families in their current housing or to get them rapidly into housing;
Provide grants and per diem payments to community-based organizations offering transitional housing to 32,000 homeless Veterans; and
Build upon the recent success of a VA hiring fair in Washington, D.C., which drew about 4,000 Veterans and has led to about 500 hiring offers to date.
The proposed budget awaits Congressional approval.
Click here to read all of our posts of the FY 2013 Budget.