Rep. Mike Levin Leads Hearing on Veteran Homelessness with Testimony from San Diego-Area Organizations
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) led a hearing of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity to address veteran homelessness, including testimony from Mr. Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services in Escondido, CA, and Ms. Tamera Kohler, CEO of the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless. The hearing examined access to the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities, and worked to determine where bottlenecks exist in delivering resources in communities of all sizes.
“Today’s hearing has touched on two of the issues that are most important to me and to my district, and I would imagine to many of my colleagues as well. One is improving services for veterans; the other is reducing homelessness… I am encouraged by a lot of what I’ve heard today from you, our experts in the field, as well as from HUD and the VA. I thank all of our witnesses again, particularly, those coming from North County San Diego in our District for providing their expertise and for the outstanding work you continue to do,” said Rep. Levin.
“We’ve highlighted that while HUD-VASH is working – and we have demonstrated results that it’s working – it can be improved to work even better.. I’m very hopeful about this legislation that we passed earlier this week to expand eligibility to OTH discharges. I’m very hopeful that given the broad bipartisan support that that legislation had this week that we can have them take it up in the Senate… No one who sacrifices so much to serve our country should ever have to worry about having a place to live,” Rep. Levin added.
“Nowhere is the struggle more real than here in California as those experiencing homelessness tonight are more likely to be unsheltered than sheltered or housed,” said Ms. Kohler. “We need to return dignity to our citizens and communities, and remove the demoralizing effects homelessness has on communities that struggle to meet the needs of its most vulnerable citizens and veterans.”
“The introduction of HUD-VASH in 2008, along with additional housing-focused interventions like Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), is directly responsible for the dramatic, nearly 50% reduction in Veterans experiencing homelessness over the last decade, from 76,329 Veterans in 2010 to 37,085 in 2019, per the annual Point In Time Count,” said Mr. Anglea. “That’s the good news. The bad news is that more than 37,000 men and women who sacrificed to protect our country are still struggling in homelessness. They answered the call to service, yet their country is now failing to help them in their time of crisis. This is unacceptable. As a nation, we must do better.”
Last week, Rep. Levin hosted Vince Hall, CEO of Feeding San Diego, and Denise Hollywood, Chief Community and Programs Officer of Blue Star Families in Encinitas for an Economic Opportunity Subcommittee hearing on food insecurity among veterans.