CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, May 15, 2013, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 384, the Homes for Heroes Act,under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on January 23, 2013 by Rep. Al Green (D-TX) and referred to the Committee on Financial Services.
H.R. 384 codifies the existing position of Special Assistant for Veterans Affairs and transfers it to the office of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The bill specifies that the Special Assistant will serve as a liaison for HUD to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, as well as other organizations concerned with veterans. The Special Assistant is required to report to Congress annually on the housing needs of veterans as well as the actions HUD has taken in the preceding year related to veterans’ homelessness.
H.R. 384 also codifies the Department’s existing report titled “Veterans Homelessness: A Supplemental Report to the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.”
According to CRS, veterans are more likely to experience homelessness than the general population. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought this problem into particular focus. In response, Congress has enacted a number of programs in both the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to support veterans and alleviate homeless among them.
With a number of programs spread over two departments, communication and organization is problematic. H.R. 384 increases coordination between the Departments and outside groups by codifying the existing position of Special Assistant for Veterans Affairs and specifying its responsibilities.
Congress has passed similar legislation in the past three Congresses. Most recently, in the 112th Congress, the House passed H.R. 3298 by a vote of 414-5 (Roll no. 133). H.R. 384 differs from that bill in that it transfers an existing position, whereas H.R. 3298 established a new position.
There is no CBO score currently available.