Special Hill Watch: President Obama Releases Last Budget
Veteran homelessness programs maintain funding and make gains
This week President Obama unveiled the last budget proposal of his Presidency. This document outlines the goals of the administration and acts as a suggestion to Congress on how to fund federal programs for the upcoming Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, and is mainly an indication of the priorities of the federal agencies. In the Budget, programs that exist to end veteran homelessness have received positive attention and proposed increases in funding.
Specifically, several programs are singled out for increased funding in the next fiscal year:
For the first time in many years, the Department of Labor (DOL) has requested that the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP) be fully funded at its authorization cap of $50 million. This would realize an increase in funding of $11,891,000 over the status quo of the past few years. With this increase, DOL projects that it will be able to increase enrollment of veterans in the program by more than five thousand individuals. The Department is also considering raising the caps on grant awards for both urban and rural areas.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requested $7 million to actualize the Tribal Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Demonstration program for Native American homeless veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has requested a total of $496 million for the case management and supportive services provided by that department to the HUD-VASH program. This is a year-over-year increase of more than $80 million.
Other programs did not receive increases:
Funding for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program has been requested at $300 million, which is a flat funding from the previous year.
The Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program funding request was $247 million. This is $46 million above what the Department requested last year. NCHV was able to stop that year's proposed cut, and is pleased to see that the request for the upcoming fiscal year is in line with what communities across the country need.
With the exception of the $7 million for Tribal HUD-VASH and the more than $80 million in increased case management and supportive services funding mentioned above, the President’s Budget does not request any additional HUD-VASH vouchers for FY 2017.
Altogether, the VA has requested more than $1.6 billion in direct funding to support homeless veteran rescue and prevention programs, permanent supportive housing, employment, healthcare, and legal services. NCHV applauds the advances made in this year’s Presidential Budget, and will work with Congress to achieve the increases called for, while pushing for increases in other areas.