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Hill Watch: House and Senate Pass Bill Including Critical Updates to HVRP Eligibility

NCHV is ending homelessness among veterans by shaping public policy, promoting collaboration, and building the capacity of service providers
Hill Watch: House and Senate Pass Bill Including Critical Updates to HVRP Eligibility
Since the 113th Congress, NCHV has advocated for legislation which would make the Department of Labor’s Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP) work more seamlessly with the Department of Veterans Affairs homeless programs. That means that we have been working on this bill for five years. NCHV is happy to report that last night the Senate passed a bill containing this language, following the same in the House two weeks ago.
In a recent congressional press release, NCHV’s CEO Kathryn Monet described the reason for the bill like this: “HVRP is the best job training and placement resource we have for homeless veterans. For many years however, a bureaucratic hurdle has made it impossible for veterans to qualify if they are housed before they can apply for employment assistance. This bill completely removes that hurdle, ensuring that this program is available for any veteran who needs a permanent home and a good job.”
The final bill (contained in S. 2248, found here) expanded the eligibility for the HVRP program to include veterans who:
  • Are participating in HUD-VASH, or Tribal HUD-VASH,
  • Are receiving assistance through the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA),
  • Are participating in the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, or
  • Were homeless in the previous 60 days.
After failing to pass in the 113th and 114th Congresses due to concerns by Members of Congress about how to pay for the provisions, NCHV is happy to report that with support from four key Members those roadblocks were removed this year. In the House, Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-2) and Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), and in the Senate, Senators Boozman (R-AR) and Tester (D-MT) were our champions. We thank them all for their hard work and commitment to this issue.
NCHV members played two vital roles in solving this bureaucratic hurdle with HVRP: first, you identified the problem in the field and reported it to us here on the policy side of the office, and secondly you helped advocate for it in conversations, emails, phone calls, and meetings with your elected officials and their staffs. 
This process – though long and arduous – illustrates exactly why NCHV exists, and also illustrates that we rely on our members for their expertise, input, and participation. Thank you to all of you who helped in any way with this process. We couldn’t have done it without you!
All parties expect that the President will sign the bill into law in the coming days.
We anticipate that the Department of Labor, who administers this program, will have an announcement about how they will roll out this change to policy soon. NCHV will be weighing in during that process as well. As always, please wait to hear from your federal leadership on the issue before making any changes to your program’s policies.