Hot Sheet

Coffman’s bipartisan bill would help homeless vets and their kids

Author: Dan Njegomir - October 24, 2017 - Updated: October 24, 2017

(iStock image / smontgom65)

The GOP’s 6th CD U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman and a Democratic counterpart in Congress have introduced the Homeless Veteran Families Act — which aims to unite homeless vets’ families. A press announcement from Coffman’s office says H.R. 4009, which the Aurora Republican is sponsoring with California Democratic U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley, “aims to assist community agencies who help homeless veterans with dependents, with housing costs — thus helping keep families together.”

The press release explains the mechanics:

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 to fund community agencies providing services to homeless veterans.  H.R. 4099 would provide the Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Secretary with the authority to reimburse GPD providers at a 50% rate for the costs of housing minor dependent(s) of homeless veterans while the veteran receives services from the grant recipient.

… Currently, the VA does not have the statutory authority to provide the reimbursements for the costs of services for minor dependents of homeless veterans. This in turn makes the GPD provider pay out of pocket for those services. As a result, some homeless shelters actually give preference to non-veteran homeless families because under the HHS program they do get a per diem for the minor dependent(s).

Coffman is quoted:

“As a Marine combat veteran, I take pride in being able to help those who have served our nation … The bipartisan ‘Homeless Veteran Families Act’ ensures we can offer homeless veterans and their children a safe shelter during their times of hardship and keep families together.”

The legislation has the endorsement of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, among other groups.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.