Aguilar Announces Over $400,000 to Combat Veteran Homelessness in San Bernardino County
Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) jointly awarded Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino (HACSB) $405,804 to support housing vouchers for veterans. Earlier this year, Rep. Aguilar called on the House Appropriations Committee to allocate crucial funding to the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, which combines rental assistance in the form of a HUD voucher to assist homeless veterans.
“I’m glad to see important funding heading to San Bernardino County veterans,” said Rep. Aguilar. He continued, “We cannot sit back while Inland Empire veterans are left to suffer alone on the streets. Our service members risked their lives to keep our families safe and free—we owe it to them to ensure that they have the resources they need to live stable and healthy lives when they return.”
“The overwhelming response from our Congressional leaders and County Supervisors in adding resources to accomplish this mission is nothing short of amazing. We have gone from over 2,600 vets on the streets in our county a few years ago to less than 150 now thanks to the laudable teamwork of many,” stated Daniel Nackerman, HACSB’s Executive Director.
On the local level, the San Bernardino County leaders unanimously launched a final mission to end veterans homelessness in County at a special meeting held in July 2015. Since that declaration, the remaining number of vets to be housed is under 150 and with this federal announcement of another $405,804 granted jointly by the U.S. Veterans Administration and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the last battle and overall war to end veterans homelessness in San Bernardino County will soon be won.
Through this new grant allocation, the Housing Authority would be able to house approximately 50 additional veterans throughout the County, bringing up the total veteran specific vouchers to 407.
Since taking office in January of this year, Rep. Aguilar has made supporting veterans one of his top priorities. He cosponsored the Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act, which establishes a pilot program to support training, apprenticeships and certification classes for veterans. In June of this year, he passed an amendment through the House of Representatives to H.R. 2685, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016, which requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to study the causes and ways to address the higher rate of suicide in women veterans. And just last week, Rep. Aguilar unanimously passed a bipartisan amendment to the surface transportation bill, which will help put veterans back to work by easing the process for those who drove specialized vehicles in the military to transition their skills to civilian jobs driving commercial vehicles. Rep. Aguilar also held a Veterans Roundtable in San Bernardino and convened a Veterans Advisory Board to discuss critical issues veterans face, including health care, the VA backlog, homelessness and unemployment. Rep. Aguilar serves on the House Armed Services Committee.