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Bill Introduced to Assist Veterans With Pilot Grant Program

Representative Bob Filner (D-CA) has introduced H.R. 5861 that would direct the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and HUD to establish a pilot grant program to provide housing to veterans who are experiencing homelessness and who are age 55 or older. The legislation, if enacted, would authorize two grants of no more than $25,000,000 each to be awarded to two distinct private, nonprofit organizations in order for them to provide non-transitional housing to veterans who are experiencing homelessness. H.R. 5861 would require that interested organizations submit an application for consideration of a grant award; the application requirements and evaluation criteria are not outlined in the bill. The bill calls for the grants to be used to either “(a) purchase real property within a single geographical area to be used to provide up to 200 eligible homeless veterans with non-transition housing; and (b) refurbish or renovate such property.” H.R. 5861 would requires that the VA provide case management services to veterans who receive housing under the grants authorized by the measure.

To be eligible under the bill, a veteran must meet several conditions. These include: being age 55 or older, having either been continuously homeless for a year or more or having experienced four distinct periods of homelessness during the last three years, and having a condition that “limits the veteran’s ability to work or perform activities of daily living.” The bill has been referred to the House Committees on Financial Services and Veterans’ Affairs. H.R.5861 currently has no co-sponsors.