Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley, Ernst Seek Answers and Solutions from VA to Reduce Veteran Homelessness in Iowa

Nov 07, 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa sent a letter to Robert Wilkie, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to better understand why veteran homelessness in Iowa has increased in the past two years.

“[Housing] is one of the most basic needs of all individuals. In particular, we should have the right resources and policies in place to assist our veterans. These brave men and women have given so much to our country through their service and sacrifice and they should have the security of a place to live. It is vital for the federal government to partner with states and local communities to find the most effective solutions to combat homelessness, especially among our veterans,” the senators wrote.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Annual Homeless Assessment Report, showed that the number of veterans who experience homelessness has decreased 5.4 percent since last year, falling to nearly half the number of homeless veterans in 2010. In Iowa, however, veteran homelessness increased in the years 2017 and 2018. 

Grassley and Ernst commended the VA for “making inroads to address veterans’ homelessness,” while outlining questions to further understand how federal and state elected officials can work together to help Iowa “experience the type of results happening elsewhere across the nation.”

The full letter can be found here and below.

 

The Honorable Robert Wilkie

Secretary

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Washington, D.C. 20420

 

Dear Secretary Wilkie,

In the recently published U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Annual Homeless Report, we were pleased to see that the number of veterans experiencing homelessness has decreased 5.4 percent since last year, falling to nearly half the number of homeless veterans reporting in 2010. However, we remain concerned that in our state of Iowa, veteran homelessness has increased in years 2017 and 2018.

As you know, housing is one of the most basic needs of all individuals. In particular, we should have the right resources and policies in place to assist our veterans. These brave men and women have given so much to our country through their service and sacrifice and they should have the security of a place to live. It is vital for the federal government to partner with states and local communities to find the most effective solutions to combat homelessness, especially among our veterans.

Your agency is making inroads to address veteran homelessness and for that you should be applauded. We hope to work with you further to address the issues specific to Iowa so that our state can experience the type of results that are happening elsewhere across the nation. The following questions will help us identify contributing factors as well as actions Congress can pursue to further assist HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in eradicating veteran homelessness overall.

We request answers to the following questions:

1)         Have HUD and the VA identified the causes for increases in veteran homelessness in certain states, such as Iowa?

a.         If so, what are those causes?

b.         What best practices are being employed in states that have experienced a decrease in homelessness that might be adopted by states like Iowa?

c.         Are there any common identifiers or trends among states that have experienced an increase in veteran homelessness?

2)         Are there additional resources or authorities that HUD or the VA require in order to be more effective in reducing veteran homelessness in all states?

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

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