Aug. 7, 2012
WASHINGTON – In mid-July 2012, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed H.R. 1627, the “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.” As reported by NCHV, this bill would reauthorize and improve several homeless veteran programs that are critical to the success of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s Five-Year Plan to End Veteran Homelessness. On July 31, the U.S. House of Representatives proceeded to pass H.R. 1627, and less than one week later, the bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama.
This bill represents a comprehensive agreement between both parties in both the House and the Senate. NCHV’s most recent Congressional Leadership Award recipients – Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs – were at the center of this compromise.
Throughout the 112th Congress, NCHV has regularly advised the congressional committees of jurisdiction on the provisions in H.R. 1627 that would greatly impact homeless veteran assistance. Descriptions of these individual provisions are provided below.
For more information on H.R. 1627, visit the following links:
H.R. 1627, “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012”
Title II—Housing Matters
Sec. 211. Modification of authorities for enhanced-use leases of real property.
Authority for VA’s Enhanced-Use Lease (EUL) program expired on Dec. 31, 2011. This section provides a modified reauthorization for the program. The VA Secretary may now enter into a EUL “only for the provision of supportive housing,” which is defined in the bill as “housing that engages tenants in on-site and community-based support services for veterans or their families that are at risk of homelessness or are homeless.”
Title III—Homeless Matters
Sec. 301. Enhancement of comprehensive service programs.
This section would allow Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program capital grants to be used for the new construction of facilities. Additionally, these applicants would be able to use funding from other private or public sources, so long as the applicant “demonstrates that a private nonprofit organization will provide oversight and site control for the project.”
Within one year, VA must also “complete a study of all matters relating to” the GPD per diem payment method, as well as develop a more effective and efficient method for adequately reimbursing GPD capital grant recipients.
Sec. 302. Modification of authority for provision of treatment and rehabilitation to certain veterans to include provision of treatment and rehabilitation to homeless veterans who are not seriously mentally ill.
This section expands VA’s authority to provide “hospital, nursing home, and domiciliary care” (Title 38, section 1710, U.S. Code). Current law only allows homeless veterans who are suffering from serious mental illness to receive this care— H.R. 1627 will allow all homeless veterans to access these services.
Sec. 303. Modification of grant program for homeless veterans with special needs.
This section expands the VA’s Special Needs Grant Program to organizations that are eligible for GPD funds. Current law only allows existing GPD providers to receive Special Needs grants.
Additionally, male homeless veterans with minor dependents would become eligible for services through the Special Needs Grant Program. Current law restricts these services to women veterans with minor dependents. H.R. 1627 authorizes these dependents to directly receive services through the program.
Sec. 304. Collaboration in provision of case management services to homeless veterans in supported housing program.
This section states that the VA Secretary “shall consider entering into contracts or agreements” with eligible organizations to help provide case management through the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program. Training and technical assistance may be provided to help facilitate these efforts.
Within a year and a half of H.R. 1627’s enactment, VA must report to Congress on this collaboration.
Sec. 305. Extensions of previously fully funded authorities affecting homeless veterans.
This section reauthorizes programs that are critical to the success of the Five-Year Plan to End Veteran Homelessness:
For more information on policy and legislative issues that affect homeless veteran service providers, visit http://nchv.org/index.php/policy/.