US military veterans will receive a $3 billion budget to reduce homelessness; Whitehouse announces.

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WASHINGTON, July 3 — The Biden administration is investing more than $3 billion in national programs to address homelessness, with a focus on assisting US military veterans in obtaining and maintaining secure homes.

The $3.1 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “Continuum of Care” program is the single largest infusion of funds into the program, which supports state, tribal, and local government efforts to combat homelessness, particularly US military veterans. Grants to pay legal assistance and employment training for veterans are also included, as are “boot camps” aimed to assist VA medical centers and public housing organizations in getting veterans into housing more rapidly.

The Northwest Justice Project, a charity based in Seattle that serves the entire state of Washington, is one of 79 organizations that will share $11.5 million in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ first-ever grant program to finance legal help for US military veterans. Chelsea Hicks, managing attorney for the organization’s King County Veterans Program, said the funding, coupled with $30,000 in matching money from King County, will allow them to hire another attorney.

According to Chelsea Hicks, managing attorney of the group’s King County Veterans Program, the organization is trying to expand its work with US military veterans in general, and this is just one aspect of that. “This isn’t a lot of money, but we’re going to use it to expand the work we can do,” she added.

While Hicks’ program primarily assists US military veterans in the Puget Sound area, she emphasizes that the Northwest Justice Project offers other services to US military veterans across the state, such as a legal assistance hotline and sections dedicated to preventing evictions and foreclosures.

White House domestic policy adviser Neera Tanden told reporters on a conference call that activists working to end homelessness for all Americans, especially US military veterans, may learn from the VA’s recent initiatives, which have continued to make progress even as general homelessness has increased in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Tanden said that homelessness is a real challenge they face as a nation, yet a solvable one. “We know this because of the incredible work done over the last decade to reduce the number of homeless US military veterans by more than 55% since 2010,” she added.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the total number of unhoused people decreased by only 8.5% during the same time period. Between 2016 and 2022, the general homeless population increased by about 6%, while the number of homeless US military veterans decreased.

“I can assure you that we won’t rest until every veteran has a safe, stable place to call home in this country that they swore an oath to defend,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said ending US military veterans’ homelessness.

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