Sullivan & Sinema Seek Greater Support for Homeless Veterans During Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, yesterday introduced S. 3898, the Homeless Veterans Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, legislation that would grant the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) greater flexibility in caring for and meeting the needs of homeless veterans in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Homeless veterans are some of the most at-risk Americans for COVID-19 infection and the resulting health challenges without the support and shelter most of us take for granted,” said Senator Sullivan. “These men and women stepped up and sacrificed on behalf of our country when we needed them most. With this legislation, my colleagues and I reaffirm our commitment to honoring their service by making sure the VA is properly resourced to meet the unique needs of our hardest-hit veterans affected during the pandemic.”

“The federal government must fulfill its promises to America’s veterans and reduce veteran homelessness. Our bipartisan bill increases veterans’ access to housing, health care, and emergency resources during the ongoing public health crisis,” said Senator Sinema, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Among other provisions, the legislation would loosen certain regulations and enable the VA to use existing resources to offer homeless veterans the additional assistance they may need, including transportation, communication devices and services, and basic amenities, like clothing, blankets and hygiene items. The law would also allow the VA to work with partner organizations to set up shelters on its properties. Finally, the bill ensures homeless veterans have access to the VA’s telehealth services.

The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). Companion legislation in the House was also introduced yesterday by Representatives Mike Levin (D-Calif.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.). 

# # #