DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman introduced a bill aimed at keeping homeless veterans and their families together.
The bill would provide an incentive for community agencies that help homeless veterans with children in the form of funding for housing costs.
Right now, some agencies don’t have the money to provide services for children of homeless veterans — leading to many homeless shelters giving preference to non-veteran families because under another government program, those agencies get per diem funding for children.
The Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program is offered annually by the VA’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program which only helps homeless veterans.
On Monday, Coffman attended the Innovative Housing Symposium in Aurora to advocate and answer questions about his bill.
“As a Marine Corps combat veteran, I understand the sacrifices that veterans make for this country, and to have this program by the Department of Veterans Affairs that recognizes the need to take care of veterans, but not their families, means that we’re really not taking care of veterans. Without their families, they won’t access these services, they are not going to have a warm bed when their family doesn’t,” Coffman said.
While this bill has the support of 180 co-sponsors, Coffman says the problem it faces is the cost.
He says he’ll likely have to find a way to offset it, possibly somewhere inside the Department of Veterans Affairs, to have the funding behind this bill.