Senate Passes Legislation to Provide Housing for Homeless Veterans

Washington, DC –
the Senate passed legislation that will increase funding for housing and
supportive services for veterans.  Oregon’s
Senator Jeff Merkley voted in favor of the measure which was passed as part of
the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act.

“After serving our nation selflessly and putting their lives
on the line for the safety of our citizens, it is completely unacceptable that
veterans are sleeping on the streets and not receiving the care and services
they deserve,” said Merkley  “This
funding is an important step forward in helping veterans get off the streets
and back on their feet.”

The legislation will provide $50 million in additional funding to the
Department of Veterans Affairs to renovate unused and under-utilized VA
buildings and pursue public/private partnerships to help provide homeless veterans
with housing, health and supportive services. 

The amendment, introduced by Senator Tim Johnson (D-ND), was adopted as part of
the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill.  The bill must now go to conference committee
and be adopted by the full Senate and House before being sent to the President.

Last week, Senator Merkley co-sponsored two bills to help
provide housing assistance for veterans.  The Homes for Heroes Act and the Zero Tolerance for Veterans
Homelessness Act would provide additional assistance to reduce homelessness
among veterans and make it easier for community and nonprofit organizations to
better assist homeless veterans currently out of work.  In addition, Senator Merkley sponsored S.1366
to allow taxpayers to designate
a portion of their income tax payment for the Homeless Veterans Assistance