Office of Rep. Derek Kilmer announcement.
On May 15, 2023, U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Nancy Mace (SC-01) introduced the Housing America’s Veterans and Ensuring They Have Needed Services (HAVENS) Act, a bipartisan effort aimed at providing housing solutions for veterans experiencing homelessness.
According to the 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to Congress, on a single night in 2022, more than 33,000 veterans were experiencing homelessness in the U.S., approximately seven percent of all adults experiencing homelessness. Of every 10,000 veterans, 20 were experiencing homelessness. Among veterans experiencing homelessness, 28 percent had chronic patterns of homelessness.
“Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to those who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom. That means that every veteran should have a home, and it shouldn’t be under a freeway overpass,” said Rep. Kilmer. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to help provide more accessible, affordable, and safe housing options for veterans experiencing homelessness.”
“The HAVENS Act is an important step towards fulfilling our promise to care for our nation’s veterans,” said Rep. Mace. “With over 37,000 veterans experiencing homelessness, it’s clear we have more work to do. This pilot program will provide grants for the creation of 5 villages of tiny homes that are energy efficient and environmentally sustainable. In addition to housing, the villages will offer crucial social services such as counseling on employment resources, mental health support, and financial management. Providing individual housing units not only improves safety for veterans, but also addresses the factors related to homelessness such as social isolation and substance abuse.”
The HAVENS Act would establish a new pilot program within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program to establish individualized transitional homes, offering more affordable housing options for veterans. These individualized homes, also known as “tiny homes,” offer enhanced safety and privacy and are essential for specific veteran populations, including women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Also, individualized home villages will provide wrap-around supportive services for veterans experiencing homelessness and their families.
The legislation proposes to:
- Establish a 6-year pilot program within the GPD to award five grants totaling $10 million annually for constructing tiny home villages
- Use existing GPD funds to initiate the pilot program
- Address gaps in the GPD program’s case management by expanding veterans’ access to vital resources, helping them regain stability quickly
- Increase access to supportive services for veterans experiencing homelessness and their families, including job training, counseling services, financial management, and educational opportunities
- Give preference to grant recipients using energy-efficient building materials, like cross-laminated timber
- Require VA to improve tracking of outcomes for veterans experiencing homelessness