Romney’s Proposal to Cut HUD Hits Homeless Vets
Move Would Cut Critical Funds for Homeless Veterans, Put Thousands of Veterans on the Streets
Washington, DC– Mitt Romney’s proposal to cut the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) could put thousands of Veterans on the streets by eliminating critical funding and support for programs aimed at helping homeless Veterans.
HUD works with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to provide housing for eligible homeless Veterans through the HUD-VASH program. Since 2008, a total of 37,975 vouchers have been awarded, allowing thousands of Veterans to find homes. Cutting HUD would severely undermine the Obama administration’s efforts to end homelessness among our nation’s Veterans.
“The VA and HUD have made a commitment to ending homelessness among our Veterans and because of programs like HUD-VASH, we are on track to do that. Cutting these kinds of critical programs would eliminate housing for thousands of our nation’s Veterans. We cannot allow our Veterans who have served this nation to be homeless. The Ryan budget, which was endorsed by Romney, doesn’t even mention the word Veteran once. It just shows you how out of touch Romney is with the men and women who have served our nation,” said Congressman Bob Filner, Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
The Obama administration has made ending Veterans’ homelessness by 2015 a top priority. Tammy Duckworth, Veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs and a candidate for Congress in IL-08, said because of the HUD-VASH program, “we are well on our way to reaching our five year goal of ending Veteran homelessness. Veterans in 2011 were 16 percent of the homeless population but represent only nine percent of our entire population. Veterans are extremely vulnerable to homelessness and in order to fight that, we need programs, like HUD-VASH, which help our Veterans get back on their feet and actually save the taxpayers money. It concerns me that Gov. Romney thinks this is an acceptable way to treat our Veterans.”
Newton Mass. Mayor and Veteran Setti Warren added, “As a Mayor I know the importance of having to balance a budget and keep spending under control, but I also know you need to set the right priorities when accomplishing these goals. Getting rid of HUD as a way to cut spending while maintaining tax cuts for billionaires is extremely offensive to our military families. As Mayor of the state that Romney formerly governed, I know firsthand how out of touch he has been with Veterans. He tried to cut Veterans’ programs by 11 percent in his first budget proposal and he even proposed turning the VA healthcare system into a voucher program. Bottom line, we need to take care of our Veterans when they come home and cutting HUD is certainly not the way to do that.”
In 2011, the number of homeless U.S. Veterans on a given night dropped 12 percent from the year before. Many of the programs created under the Obama administration have contributed to this decline, but a continued commitment to programs like HUD-VASH are needed to eliminate homelessness among Veterans.
Phil Carter, former Pentagon Official and Principal at the Truman Project said, “President Obama has done more for our nation’s Veterans than any other President in recent memory. The HUD-VASH program serves an incredibly large portion of the Veteran population and the Veterans jobs programs he has created will provide more than 135,000 jobs for military Veterans and their spouses. Gov. Romney wants to gut these programs and put our Veterans back on the streets during the worst economy in years. HUD does a lot more than just provide vouchers; it funds construction of new buildings and helps get our Veterans off the street. It is unclear that any other department would be able to pick any of this back up if HUD were eliminated.”