GOP spending proposal slashes successful HUD/VASH voucher program to keep 10,000 homeless veterans off the streets
March 16, 2011
Washington, D.C. – Today, during a news conference call, Nevada Senator Harry Reid and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown joined by a former homeless veteran to denounce the extreme Republican spending proposal that slashes 10,000 housing vouchers that would keep homeless veterans off the streets next year in Ohio, Nevada and across the country.
The Republican’s proposed cuts would eliminate new funding for the successful Housing Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD/VASH) voucher program that provides homeless veterans with a rental voucher. The program has already kept nearly 600 veterans in Nevada and 750 veterans in Ohio off the street in the last three years. The Republican plan would seriously threaten efforts to end homelessness among our nation’s veterans, and would leave local providers without the resources they rely on to fight veteran homelessness.
“We have a sacred responsibility to take care of those who risked their lives to defend this nation,” said Reid. “Taking a meat axe to an initiative that keeps Nevada veterans off the street is not just reckless, it’s immoral. We need to cut wasteful spending like tens of billions of dollars in government giveaways to oil companies making record profits as well as tax breaks for corporations that ship American jobs overseas. However, the Republicans’ proposal is too extreme, attempting to balance the budget on the backs of our men and women in uniform.”
“No returning servicemember should have to face homelessness. The men and women of the Armed Forces have been made a promise that if they defend our country, a grateful nation will provide them with services and benefit they have earned,” Brown said. “Servicemembers across Ohio and the nation, face too many barriers upon return from active duty. We’re prepared to negotiate and reduce the deficit responsibly. But we won’t balance the budget on the backs of those who have already given so much to our nation.”
Reid and Brown were joined on the call with John Paul Hill from Ohio, who, after being discharged from the Army, was left living on the streets and turned to drug abuse. With the help of the HUD/VASH grant program, he is now enrolled in college.
Larry Williams, a Nevadan and program manager for U.S. VETS in Las Vegas, used to be homeless before going through the U.S. VETS program in order to get back on his feet. He currently helps Nevada veterans find housing through the HUD/VASH voucher program.