Senator John Tester introduced S. 1333, the Tribal HUD-VASH Act of 2017. This bill would allow Native American veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to receive rental assistance through the HUD-VASH program.
Legislation enacted in October 2015 required the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) to set up a demonstration program to allow Native American tribes entry into the HUD-VASH program. 26 of the 567 federally recognized Native American tribes received HUD-VASH vouchers under the current Tribal HUD-VASH pilot, which expired last year.
The Tribal HUD-VASH Act of 2017 will re-authorize the program and ensure that at least five percent of all HUD-VASH vouchers are set aside for Native American tribes and tribal housing authorities to address veteran homelessness. The measure would require HUD and the VA to modify the initiative through tribal consultation to better guide available resources to homeless Native American veterans. The bill also directs the Indian Health Service (IHS) to provide any assistance requested by HUD or the VA to implement the initiative and directs both agencies and the IHS to conduct a review of the initiative every five years.
This bill is in accordance with DAV Resolution No. 229, which directs DAV to support the rights and benefits earned by service-connected Native American and Alaska native veterans and Resolution No. 239, which urges Congress to continue to authorize and appropriate funds for competitive grants to community-based and public organizations, including HUD to provide health and supportive services to homeless veterans placed in permanent housing.