WASHINGTON — Following reports that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is backtracking on a proposal to reallocate $460 million away from HUD-VASH, a program that supports homeless Veterans, National League of Cities (NLC) President Mark Stodola, mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, released the following statement:
“Cities thank Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin for reversing his decision to reallocate almost half a billion dollars away from programs to help homeless Veterans. I can tell you firsthand that these programs work — since 2008, about 130,000 homeless veterans have found permanent housing, decreasing the total population by almost 50 percent. We urge Secretary Shulkin to honor his commitment and ensure these critical resources remain specifically dedicated to helping city leaders end veteran homelessness.”
Last month, all 14 members of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee sent a letter to Sec. Shulkin urging the VA to reconsider its decision to move dedicated HUD-VASH funds to general purpose funds. Since 2015, 60 communities across 30 states have functionally ended veteran homelessness with help from critical federal programs dedicated to serving homeless veterans.
City leaders know that progress happens when public-private partnerships are created and properly resourced. As VA solicits input regarding how to best target funding geographically, local elected officials urge a process that is open and transparent to all stakeholders.
The recent actions have created a high degree of uncertainty in communities across the country. NLC believes VA and its federal partners at HUD and USICH would be well served to issue a clarifying statement regarding the status of VA’s HUD-VASH resources to mitigate uncertainty at the local level.
Additional reporting on this story may be found here:
- Washington Post — “VA tried to reallocate $460 million earmarked for homeless veterans. Now it says that won’t happen.”
- POLITICO — “VA kills plan to cut homeless-vet program after outcry”
- Business Insider — “Trump administration backtracks on cuts to program helping homeless veterans after outrage”
The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.