The Veterans Affairs agency immediately caught flak for reportedly deciding to end a program that provides housing for homeless veterans.
The agency reportedly announced on a call last week with veterans advocates that the program, which provides housing vouchers to veterans via the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would be cut. About $460 million would instead be distributed to VA hospitals. Shulkin is thought to have made the decision after a joint press conference with HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
Plenty of individuals were upset, including Elisha Harig-Blaine, a U.S. Marine veteran and Principal Housing Associate for the National League of Cities. VA hospitals won't help find veterans homes like the initial program can - "that’s the outrage,” Harig-Blaine said.
Lawmakers like Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) agreed, calling the move a “new low” for the Trump administration.
VA Secretary David Shulkin clarified Wednesday that the homeless program is not going anywhere.
There will be absolutely no change in the funding to support our homeless programs.
We will not be shifting any homeless program money to the Choice program.
The President has increased VA homeless program funding by $66 million in his fiscal year 2018 budget.
Over the next six months, I will solicit input from our local VA leaders and external stakeholders on how best to target our funding to the geographical areas that need it most.
Based on that input we will come forward with proposals for fiscal year 2019 on how to improve the targeting of our homeless program funding.