VetsFirst believes that access to affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities is critical to ensuring disabled veterans are able to live independent lives in their communities.
Veterans who have disabilities that are connected to their military service must meet stringent requirements to be eligible for home adaptation assistance through VA. For veterans not eligible for those VA programs, veterans who have disabilities that are not related to their service, and veterans who need home repair assistance, there are few options available.
To address these unmet needs, VetsFirst helped to draft the Housing Assistance for Veterans Act (HAVEN Act). This legislation would help to expand opportunities for disabled and low-income veterans to receive needed housing adaptation or home repair assistance. It would authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to establish a pilot program to provide grants to nonprofits to rehabilitate or modify homes for eligible veterans. The legislation also requires the cooperation of HUD and VA in developing and overseeing the program to ensure that veterans’ needs are met.
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The HAVEN Act was first introduced in the 112th Session of Congress. It passed the House of Representatives as part of the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 6361). In the Senate, the legislation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act. However, the HAVEN Act did not become law as it failed to pass both the House and Senate in the same form.
In January 2013, Rep. Al Green (D-TX) reintroduced the HAVEN Act (H.R. 385) in the House. Later that year, a slightly modified version of the legislation that more closely matches the Senate companion was introduced by Rep. Green, along with original co-sponsors Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH), Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), and Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME) (H.R. 3743). The Senate legislation (S. 1387) was introduced in July 2013 by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE).
We believe that the HAVEN Act should become law because it will increase access to housing adaptations by promoting partnerships between government and nonprofits.
The House and Senate Armed Services Committees released the compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2015, which includes an amended version of the HAVEN Act. The relevant language is found in Section 1079
05/23/2014: The Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2015 includes the HAVEN Act.
02/11/2014: VetsFirst worked with Rebuilding Together and The American Legion to secure Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) as the 8th cosponsor for H.R. 3743.
12/12/2013: Rep. Al Green (D-TX), along with bipartisan support, introduces a slightly modified version of the HAVEN Act legislation in the House (H.R. 3743).
11/14/2013: United Spinal Association President and CEO Paul Tobin, along with representatives from Rebuilding Together and The American Legion, met with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) to thank them for their support of the HAVEN Act.
11/07/2013: VetsFirst held a webinar regarding the housing adaptation programs available through VA. The gaps in services available to disabled veterans could be addressed by passage of the HAVEN Act.
10/31/2013: VetsFirst announced that it will hold a webinar on increasing access to accessible housing for disabled veterans. This webinar will include a focus on the HAVEN Act.
07/30/2013: Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) introduced the HAVEN Act in the Senate (S. 1387).
05/07/2013: VetsFirst continued to work with Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) regarding efforts to reintroduce the HAVEN Act in the Senate.
04/30/2013: VetsFirst continued to seek co-sponsors for the HAVEN Act in the House of Representatives.
03/04/2013: VetsFirst sent a letter of support for the HAVEN Act to Rep. Al Green (D-TX).
02/26/2013: United Spinal President Paul Tobin met with Rep. Al Green (D-TX) to thank him for his support of the HAVEN Act.
01/23/2013: Rep. Al Green (D-TX) reintroduced the HAVEN Act (H.R. 385).
12/04/2012: Through the tremendous support of Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) and a lot of grassroots advocacy, the HAVEN Act was included as an amendment to the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013. Despite the valiant efforts of our champions on the Hill, the HAVEN Act was not included in the final version of the NDAA.
09/21/2012: The HAVEN Act was introduced in the Senate (S. 3614) with the bipartisan support of Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE).
09/19/2012: The HAVEN Act passed the House of Representatives as part of the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 6361).
09/14/2012: VetsFirst testified on behalf of the HAVEN Act in a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity.
09/12/2012: Rep. Al Green (D-TX) introduced the bipartisan HAVEN Act (H.R. 6381) with Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), and Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV).