Menendez Applauds HUD Housing Aid for 15 Homeless Veterans in Camden, New Jersey

Menendez Applauds HUD Housing Aid for 15 Homeless Veterans in Camden, New Jersey

Senator chides colleagues in Congress who failed to act on legislation that would have helped more homeless vets afford housing

NEWARK, NJ - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today applauded a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant award of $133,011 to help provide housing to 15 homeless veterans in Camden. But Senator Menendez quickly noted that bills in the Senate and the House had stalled before the recess that would have provided $75 million to help house 10,000 more veterans.

"Our veterans were prepared to sacrifice everything for the sake of our country and our freedom, which is why it is only right for us to do everything we can to make sure no American veteran is homeless," said Sen. Menendez. "I am greatly heartened by these funds that will help veterans in New Jersey afford housing. But the reality is that homelessness among veterans is far more extensive and affects many more people. It is extremely unfortunate that funding to house homeless veterans is becoming yet another casualty of partisan gridlock in Congress. A majority of senators voted before the recess to move forward on a bill that includes $75 million in assistance for 10,000 homeless veterans, but a Republican filibuster - that I opposed - blocked the legislation. A similar bill in the House has also stalled. It simply isn't right for our veterans to be let down in this way. It is my hope that, when we resume, all of my colleagues in Congress put people ahead of politics, and do everything we can to help our homeless veterans."

The $133,011 grant announced today comes from HUD's Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, which combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The grant is awarded to the N.J. State Department of Community Affairs, which will work in partnership with the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center to provide 15 HUD-VASH vouchers to homeless veterans in Camden, N.J.

Prior to the current Congressional recess, the U.S. Senate was considering the Transportation-HUD (THUD) Appropriations bill (S. 1243). The legislation would appropriate $75 million for HUD-VASH (plus an additional $3 million for a related pilot program for homeless Native American veterans living on tribal lands). Although a majority of the Senate supported moving forward with the bill, a Republican-led filibuster on Aug. 1 prevented any Senate action on the bill. Senator Menendez voted for ending the filibuster and moving forward with the bill.

The House version of the THUD Appropriations bill would also appropriate $75 million for the HUD-VASH program, but that bill has also stalled.

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