$5 million in homeless grants available

The Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service (DOL-VETS) announced May 16 the availability of funds for the Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans with Families Reintegration Program (HFVVWF).

About $5 million is available to fund 16 grants ranging from $100,000 to $300,000. Applications proposing to serve homeless female veterans and homeless veterans with families under this Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) solicitation will fall into one of two categories: Urban or Non-Urban geographical areas.

These grants are intended to address two objectives: to provide services to assist in reintegrating homeless female veterans and veterans with families into meaningful employment within the labor force; and to stimulate the development of effective service delivery systems that will address the complex problems facing homeless female veterans and veterans with families.

Applications are due June 14.

Resolution No. 306 states that The American Legion:

  • Renews its commitment to assisting homeless veterans and their families.
  • Continues to support the efforts of public and private sector agencies and organizations with the resources necessary to aid homeless veterans and their families.
  • Seeks and supports any legislative or administrative proposal that will provide medical, rehabilitative and employment assistance to homeless veterans and their families.

In other news:

Job fair: The Economic Division along with members of Washington, D.C., Post 1 and staff from the National Auxiliary Office were present May 15 at the Hiring our Heroes jobs fair at the Fort Belvoir’s John Mosby Reserve Center. This event was sponsored by the University of Phoenix, Lockheed Martin and Capital One - and hosted by Fort Belvoir. More than 250 job seekers attended the event, where 56 employers and five service providers were present. Overall there were 2,274 resumes accepted, 249 interviews conducted, 53 tentative job offers and 37 on-the-spot hires.

Jobless rate: The national unemployment rate is 7.6 percent as of March 2013. For Iraq War veterans, the rate is 9.2 percent. Currently, the unemployment rate for Iraq War women veterans is 11.8 percent (up from 11.6 percent last month). 

HAVEN Act update: The Economic Division has been meeting with members of Congress and encouraging their support for the H.R. 385, Housing Assistance for Veterans (HAVEN) Act. If enacted the HAVEN Act would establish a pilot program to authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to make grants to nonprofit organizations to rehabilitate and modify homes of disabled and low-income veterans. The Economic Division has discussed the HAVEN Act with Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Ill., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Mike Johanns, R-Neb., and Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas.

Military construction funding: On May 15, Legislative staff attended a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. The committee passed to the full committee by voice vote the draft for fiscal year (FY) 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. The legislation provides FY 2014 funding mainly for two accounts: Military Construction funding for the infrastructure to house, train, and equip military personnel, provide construction funds for projects pertaining to the quality of life of troops and their families, and for military base structure, and Veterans Affairs funding for veterans benefits and programs.

The measure totals $73.3 billion in discretionary funding, which is $1.4 billion above the enacted level for FY 2013, and approximately $2.4 billion above the current level caused by automatic sequestration spending cuts, which do not affect the veterans spending portion of the bill. This level is nearly $1.4 billion below the president’s request for these programs. The increase is primarily due to advance funding approved last year for veterans medical care and an increase in spending for veterans benefits and programs, such as those to reduce the backlog in claims processing. Some of this funding is offset by reductions in the Military Construction portion of the bill.

For the complete text of the FY 2014 Subcommittee Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-113HR-SC-AP-FY14-Mil...

Flag amendment: On Monday, Legislative staff members met with the staff of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to discuss his sponsorship of the Flag Amendment. Hatch plans on introducing the legislation on Flag Day (June 14).

Letters of support: The American Legion sent out several letters of support to members of Congress in the first half of May. Among those:

  • A May 7 letter of support went to Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., giving The American Legion’s support for his proposed amendment to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This amendment would: (1) protect servicemembers deployed in support of contingency operations from home foreclosures, regardless of when the home was purchased; (2) expand the civil penalties levied against unscrupulous lenders to better reflect the seriousness of violations against SCRA; and (3) mandate a 12-month stay against foreclosures for servicemembers placed on convalescent status, for veterans who are medically discharged, and for surviving spouses of servicemembers whose deaths are service-connected. Read a related resolution.
  • A May 15 American Legion letter was sent to Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., giving our organization’s support for H.R. 1729, the VA Claims, Operations, and Records Efficiency (CORE) Act. This legislation would codify the commitment VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) have made to developing service records which are easily transferable in an electronic format between the two departments, such that transitioning servicemembers can be assured that their records are available if and when they need VA assistance. Read a related resolution.


Nuclear Iran: National Security and Foreign Relations Division staff members attended hearings held by the House Foreign Relations Committee regarding the threat of a nuclear armed Iran. The guest speakers included Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, U.S. Department of State; and David S. Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, U.S. Department of Treasury.

The administration has tenaciously pursued a dual-track strategy that offers Iran a path to reclaim its place among the community of nations while making clear that the U.S., along with our partners in the international community, would apply increasingly powerful and sophisticated sanctions on Iran if it continues to refuse to satisfy its international obligations with respect to its nuclear program. As we have repeatedly made clear, Tehran faces a choice: it can address the call of the international community to give up its nuclear ambitions and begin reintegrating itself diplomatically, economically and financially into the world community, or it can continue down its current path and face ever-growing isolation.

Webcast can be found here.

Claims: During the week ending May 10, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals reached dispositions on 129 American Legion-represented appeals. Of those dispositions, 66.7 percent of the denials were overturned with outcomes favorable to the veteran. In 35 cases, the board granted benefits outright after considering The American Legion’s arguments. In 51 cases, The American Legion was able to point out errors in the development of the veteran’s claims which mandated corrective action under the law. Of the total number of dispositions, 43 (26.4 percent) were outright denials.

POW/MIA update: Army Sgt. Charles Allen, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment (IR), was lost north of the Ch’ongch’on River, North Korea. He was accounted for on May 10 and was buried May 17 in Dallas.