U.S. Senator Tina Smith Introduces Legislation to End Veteran Homelessness Nationwide 

Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chair of the Senate Housing Subcommittee, introduced the Housing for All Veterans Act, legislation that would help bring an effective end to veteran homelessness. Minnesota is on the cusp of ending veteran homelessness, and nationwide levels of homelessness among former service members have been cut in half in the fifteen years since the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs launched the first-ever strategic plan to prevent and end the scourge of veteran homelessness in America. This legislation would help get us the rest of the way there and prevent veteran homelessness going forward.

“We promise our veterans that we will take care of them after their service to our nation. But every day that we have veterans struggling to find a safe, affordable place to live, we’re failing them,” said Senator Smith. “Guaranteeing housing for low-income veterans shouldn’t be optional. It should a promise fulfilled for every veteran, to bring them home. We’ve made some great progress in solving veteran homelessness in the last fifteen years – Minnesota especially. But the Housing for All Veterans Act would finish the job and ensure every veteran has a roof over their heads.”

“Our country continues to face a crisis of housing affordability,” said Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “NCHV is thankful for Senator Smith’s leadership to address this crisis head on for veterans facing housing instability. Subsidies are a crucial support and we urge Congress to act upon this bill as a downpayment toward a world where affordable housing is available for all Americans.”

“This legislation addresses the root cause of housing affordability, providing our veterans with a long-term, sustainable solution to secure housing. By ensuring access to rental assistance and prohibiting income discrimination, we give our veterans the stability they deserve and the opportunity to thrive in their communities,” said Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) Chief Program Officer Nathaniel Saltz.

“I applaud Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) for introducing the Housing for All Veterans Act to make housing assistance universally available to all low-income veterans who have bravely served our nation,” stated Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “I urge Congress to quickly enact this legislation to help end veteran homelessness once and for all and make an important step towards ensuring universal rental assistance for all households in need.”

“Avivo strongly supports the Housing for All Veterans Act as it represents a comprehensive approach to fulfilling our nation’s promise to its veterans, ensuring that they have access to the resources necessary to lead dignified, fulfilling lives post-service,” said Kelly Matter, President and CEO of Avivo. “We urge all stakeholders to consider the profound impact this legislation could have on the lives of veterans and their families and to advocate for its swift passage. By doing so, we can truly honor the sacrifices made by our veterans and take significant strides toward ending veteran homelessness in our country.”

The Housing for All Veterans Act would guarantee access to a housing voucher for all veterans who need it. Senator Smith unveiled this legislation and her push to put an end to veteran homelessness today at the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ National Conference in Washington, DC. You can view and download Senator Smith’s remarks at the event here.

Specifically, the Housing for All Veterans Act would:

  • Provide housing vouchers to all low-income veteran households.
    • All eligible veterans would be entitled to a housing voucher and the availability of these vouchers would not be limited by annual discretionary funding levels. The vouchers would be phased-in over five years, starting with veterans with the greatest need.
  • Assist public housing authorities in electronically verifying veteran status and lease rental units.
  • Protect veteran families from discrimination based on using a voucher.
  • Maximize access to vouchers by excluding veteran disability benefits from income eligibility calculations.
  • Support veterans with active-duty service, the National Guard and reserve forces.

Full text of the legislation is available here, and a one-page summary is available here.