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February 19, 2016

Aguilar Convenes Veterans Advisory Board to Tackle Veteran Homelessness

Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar convened another meeting of his Veterans Advisory Board.  The committee of local veterans, veteran assistance non-profit organizations, and local housing authorities met with Rep. Aguilar this afternoon to discuss the issue of veteran homelessness. The Veterans Advisory Board includes community members on a rotating basis to address a variety of issues facing veterans, including homelessness, employment, health care, the VA backlog and more. At Rep. Aguilar’s last Veterans Advisory Board meeting in November, participants focused on expanding job opportunities for San Bernardino County veterans. Rep. Aguilar meets frequently with the board to confront issues facing veterans throughout the Inland Empire.  

“While San Bernardino County is certainly a leader on decreasing veteran homelessness, we still have more work to do to make sure every veteran and their family has a roof over their head,” said Rep. Aguilar. He continued, “I’m grateful to have the company of local veterans and experts in the field of veteran assistance and housing to join me today as we focus on the next steps we can take as a community to end this terrible trend.”

Chris Williams, Veteran Outreach Coordinator for Vets on Deck 4 Vets said, “I’m glad Representative Aguilar organized this meeting. Homelessness is a big problem among the veteran population, so it’s important for us to come together as a community to address it head on.”

Frank Guevara, Director of San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs said, “I think today’s discussion was helpful in hammering out promising measures that we can take as a community to end veteran homelessness, and to continue to be an example to the greater Inland Empire community on this issue.”

Lisa Jones, Deputy Director at the Housing Authority for the County of San Bernardino said, “Veteran homelessness is a problem the Housing Authority is dedicated to tackling. Discussions like this are critical because we need to learn about what we’ve done right and where we can enhance our efforts. I appreciate Representative Aguilar’s efforts on tackling veteran homelessness and convening today’s meeting.”

Rep. Aguilar serves on the House Armed Services Committee and has made fighting for veterans one of his top priorities since taking office. In January, Rep. Aguilar met with United States Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald and San Bernardino County officials to discuss veteran homelessness in the community and across the nation. Last year, Rep. Aguilar called on the House Appropriations Committee to allocate critical 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. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) jointly awarded the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino $405, 804 to support housing vouchers for veterans. Shortly after taking office last year, Rep. Aguilar convened a Veterans Roundtable which set the parameters for his recurring Veterans Advisory Board.