For Country Caucus Endorses Carbajal’s Bipartisan Home For The Brave Act
Legislation combats veteran homelessness and ensures disabled veterans are not denied access to affordable housing programs.
Washington, D.C., July 22, 2021
Washington, DC – Today, Representative Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24) is proud to announce that the bipartisan Home For The Brave Act of 2021, has been endorsed by the For Country Caucus, a bipartisan group of military veteran lawmakers in the House of Representatives. The bill would exempt veterans’ VA disability benefits from counting toward total income when determining their eligibility for housing assistance programs through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The bipartisan bill earned the endorsement of the For Country Caucus, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Military Officers Association of America, and the National Coalition for the Homeless.
“It is wrong to deny veterans access to housing assistance programs due to disability benefits they receive for service-related injury or illness,” said Rep. Carbajal. “I am glad to work across the aisle on this legislation to assist our veterans experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity on the Central Coast and across the country. This issue transcends party politics which is why I’m so thankful to have the For Country Caucus, a bipartisan group of veterans serving in the House, backing this important bill. Our veterans stepped up to defend our nation and now Congress must step up to help them access safe, affordable housing.”
“Our veterans have put their lives at great risk to keep all of us safe back home. To return home and be priced out of housing assistance simply because they receive service-related disability benefits is just plain wrong,” said Rep. Smucker (R-PA), who is co-leading the bill. “Our district has made great strides to eliminate veteran homelessness, and I am proud to stand with my constituents in this noble effort. I want to thank Rep. Carbajal for his work on behalf of our nation’s veterans and their families and look forward to working together to get this legislation passed.”
The legislation has garnered the support of 40 cosponsors, including nine Republicans: Reps. Cynthia Axne [D-IA-3], Don Bacon [R-NE-2], Julia Brownley [D-CA-26], Andre Carson [D-IN-7], Ed Case [D-HI-1], Judy Chu [D-CA-27], Jason Crow [D-CO-6], Brian Fitzpatrick [R-PA-1], Scott Franklin [R-FL-15], Ruben Gallego [D-AZ-7], Andrew Garbarino [R-NY-2], Jesus G. "Chuy" Garcia [D-IL-4], Jared Golden [D-ME-2], Raul Grijalva [D-AZ-3], Josh Harder [D-CA-10], Jahana Hayes [D-CT-5], Chrissy Houlahan [D-PA-6], Kaiali'i Kahele [D-HI-2], John Katko [R-NY-24], William Keating [D-MA-9], Conor Lamb [D-PA-17], Elaine Luria [D-VA-2], James McGovern [D-MA-2], Daniel Meuser [R-PA-9], Seth Moulton [D-MA-6], Marie Newman [D-IL-3], Eleanor Holmes Norton [D-DC-At Large], Tom O'Halleran [D-AZ-1], Jimmy Panetta [D-CA-20], Scott Peters [D-CA-52], August Pfluger [R-TX-11], Tim Ryan [D-OH-13], Mikie Sherrill [D-NJ-11], Albio Sires [D-NJ-8], Lloyd Smucker [R-PA-11], Darren Soto [D-FL-9], Pete Stauber [R-MN-8], Marilyn Strickland [D-WA-10], Thomas Suozzi [D-NY-3], Eric Swalwell [D-CA-15].
Financial benefits for service-connected disabilities are currently counted as income when determining eligibility for housing assistance programs through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As a result, many veterans are determined ineligible for these housing programs because their disability benefits are placing them at a higher income level. Other agencies, including the International Revenue Service (IRS), do not consider veterans benefits for service-connected disabilities income.
Roughly 25% of the estimated 39,000 homeless veterans in the United States live in California.
Read the full text of the Home For The Brave Act of 2021 here.
What They’re Saying:
"Veterans with significant disabilities are often shut out of HUD housing assistance programs due to their restrictive eligibility criteria,” said Heather Ansley, Esq., MSW, Associate Executive Director of Government Relations, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). “PVA thanks Rep. Carbajal for introducing the Home for the Brave Act that seeks to remove impediments to affordable housing for these veterans."
“More than half of homeless veterans have disabilities, many of which are service-connected by VA. We must ensure these individuals have the support they need and are not unfairly penalized for their disability compensation when seeking support through housing assistance programs,” said DAV National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “We thank Congressman Carbajal for highlighting this injustice through the Home for the Brave Act, and are pleased to support this legislation to expand housing options for our nation’s disabled veterans.”
“The VFW supports this legislation to ensure veterans will be able to fully utilize their earned benefits without the penalty of financial offsets,” said VFW Director of National Legislative Services, Patrick Murray. “Using one earned VA benefit should never prevent a veteran from using another unrelated benefit. The VFW is glad to see this issue has the bipartisan support it deserves, and we thank Congressmen Carbajal and Smucker for making this a priority.”
"Every US citizen is deeply indebted to all those who wear the American flag on their uniform, and it is time for us to pay back that debt by ending homelessness among anyone who was ever enlisted in the armed forces,” said Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless Donald Whitehead. By making housing more affordable to disabled veterans, we move closer to the day when our nation's veterans do not have to deal with all the long term health consequences associated with living on the streets."
“The bipartisan Home for the Brave Act provides an essential fix to help our nation’s homeless veterans ensure they have expanded housing opportunities. Service-disabled veterans are receiving payments because they were harmed serving our country and any payments we owe them should not limit access to housing assistance programs when they are in need,” said Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAD (Ret), President and CEO of the Military Officers Association of America. “MOAA thanks Reps. Carbajal and Smucker for their leadership on this issue and for encouraging Congress to move swiftly and pass this bill.”
“No veteran should face housing discrimination based on their service-connected disability, but right now that is exactly what many face with Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) housing assistance programs,” said National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford, The American Legion. “The American Legion is proud to stand with Representative Carbajal in support of the Home for the Brave Act, which would close the loophole that counts service-related disability benefits as income for consideration of housing assistance programs.”
Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th congressional district, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County. He sits on the House Armed Services Committee, Agriculture Committee, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he serves as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.
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