WASHINGTON, March 26, 2013— Late last week, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that would continue government operations until the end of the fiscal year (FY) on Sept. 30, 2013. While H.R. 933 – the “Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013” – does not sidestep sequestration, which officially took effect on March 1, it would nonetheless make a historic investment in homeless veteran-specific programs.
UPDATE: H.R. 933 was signed into law (Public Law 113-6) by President Barack Obama on March 26, 2013.
Introduced by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, H.R. 933 would fund the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at a level agreed upon last year on a broad bipartisan basis. Furthermore, the highly successful HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program would continue its incremental build up.
Among the bill’s highlights are as follows:
The Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program would receive $235 million— an $11 million increase over FY 2012.
The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program would receive $300 million— a $200 million increase over FY 2012.
The HUD-VASH Program would receive $75 million for approximately 10,000 new vouchers, bringing the total number of vouchers to about 57,000. VA would receive an additional $43 million for HUD-VASH case management services.
Despite these record funding increases, some homeless veterans and service providers alike will feel the effects of sequestration. HUD has announced that its Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) and Continuum of Care (CoC) programs – both of which serve veterans, among other populations – are expected to be cut by 5% overall.
Additionally, the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP), administered by the Department of Labor-Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL-VETS), is expected to be cut by roughly $2 million. This would be a significant blow to the program, which is only funded at $38.185 million.
DOL-VETS retains some discretion in exactly how to implement these cuts to HVRP— therefore, the exact outcome for the program is unclear. NCHV will provide more information as it becomes available, and advises grantees to be mindful of this situation moving forward.
For more information on policy and legislative issues, visit www.nchv.org.