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VA will keep funds for veterans’ homeless program following backlash

VA Secretary David Shulkin (White House/Flickr)
December 08, 2017

The Department of Veterans Affairs has said it will no longer backtrack on its plan to fund a veterans’ homeless program, after community backlash and outrage following the announcement that the VA would not fund the program.

The VA was going to reallocate $460 million that had been earmarked for one of its veterans’ homeless programs.

But after feeling the heat from lawmakers and advocacy groups, the VA decided to keep the funds allocated for the homeless program.

“The about-face, announced in a statement Wednesday night from VA Secretary David Shulkin, followed a Washington Post inquiry about the Trump administration’s effort to divert the funding — totaling $460 million — instead to local VA hospitals for discretionary use,” The Washington Post reported. “As Politico first reported, that money had been set aside specifically for a voucher program, run by VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, that provides long-term living accommodations for the country’s most vulnerable military veterans, many of whom suffer from mental illness.”

“There will be absolutely no change in the funding to support our homeless programs,” Shulkin said in a statement. “… Over the next six months, I will solicit input from our local VA leaders and external stakeholders on how best to target our funding to the geographical areas that need it most. Based on that input we will come forward with proposals for fiscal year 2019 on how to improve the targeting of our homeless program funding.”