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Before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Regarding Meeting the Housing Needs of Veterans

August 2, 2006

After a section-by-section review, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) strongly supports the Homes for Heroes Act.

The requirement for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to comply with the provision of P.L. 107-95 The Homeless Veterans Assistance Act of 2001, by requesting funding for the HUD-VASH voucher program would be instrumental in providing permanent housing with supportive services to these veterans.

In 1992, VA joined with HUD to launch the HUD-VASH program. HUD funded almost 600 vouchers each (a total of 1,753) for this program. Through the end of FY’02, the program had served 4,300 veterans. This successful program was given additional HUD-VASH vouchers with the passage of P.L.107-95, section 12. However, HUD, a very large player in the effort to end homelessness, has not requested appropriations for additional HUD-VASH vouchers. VVA believes this program should be extended until 2010 and these vouchers should be included as budget language in HUD’s FY’07, FY’08, FY’09 and FY’10 budgets. HUD acknowledges in a letter of December 5, 2005 to our National President that these funds have not been appropriated and that housing needs of homeless Americans remains one of the top priorities of the department. If this is so, then we are force to wonder: Why are they leaving about 2,000 homeless veterans without the most vital resources they need --- a safe and secure place to live -- by not asking Congress to appropriate these vouchers.

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