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The Week Ahead: Protecting Vets Through the VA Housing Program

On Thursday, November 2 at 9:00 a.m. Central, the Senate Banking Committee will be hosting a hearing titled, “Ensuring Financial Protection for Servicemembers, Veterans, and Their Families.”

Witnesses scheduled to testify include Cory Titus, Director of Servicemember Compensation and Veteran Benefits for the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA); and Kelly Hruska, Government Relations Director for the National Military Family Association.

The VA housing assistance program can help U.S. veterans, servicemembers, and their surviving spouses purchase or refinance a home. Other VA housing programs include benefits and services to help build, improve, or keep homes current.

Part of the discussion during the “Ensuring Financial Protection for Servicemembers, Veterans, and Their Families” hearing will discuss VA housing benefits, and how this program has assisted thousands of Americans in the year 2023 alone.

In March of this year, VA Secretary Denis McDonough outlined the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2023 goals for preventing and ending veteran homelessness by:

  • Placing at least 38,000 veterans experiencing homelessness into permanent housing.
  • Ensuring that at least 95% of the veterans housed in 2023 do not return to homelessness during the year. And of those who return to homelessness, the VA will ensure that at least 90% are rehoused or on a path to rehousing by the end of 2023.
  • Engaging with at least 28,000 unsheltered veterans to help them obtain housing and other wraparound services. This goal represents a more than 10% increase in the number of unsheltered veterans reached during 2022.

“We are making real progress in the fight to end Veteran homelessness, but even one Veteran experiencing homelessness is one too many,” said VA Secretary McDonough. “We will not rest until every Veteran has a safe, stable place to call home in this country they fought to defend.”

According to Monica Diaz, Executive Director of VA Homeless Programs, as of July 31, the VA reported that 26,470 veterans have moved into permanent housing, representing 69.7% progress toward the VA’s 2023 goal. An average of 3,309 veterans have moved into housing each month. Additionally, 97.1% of the veterans housed since Jan. 1, 2023, have remained in housing. The VA is working to support the 772 veterans who returned to homelessness after being housed this year. The VA’s staff and community partners have rehoused 654 of those veterans or have placed them on a path to rehousing, representing 84.7% of veterans who have returned to homelessness. Lastly, 24,285 unsheltered veterans have been engaged by the VA’s homeless program outreach staff, and the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families grantees, representing 86.7% of the goal.

Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee will be Cory Titus, current Director of Servicemember Compensation and Veteran Benefits for MOAA. In his role, Titus advocates for policy solutions to help veterans receive their earned disability compensation, education, and employment benefits. He is responsible for ensuring that the National Guard and Reserve receive the necessary support to maintain readiness and meet challenges both domestically and abroad.

Also slated to testify before the Senate Banking Committee, Hruska became the Government Relations Director of the National Military Family Association in 2015. In this role, she leads the Association’s advocacy for the families of the eight uniformed services and monitors the range of issues relevant to their quality of life. She began her work with the Association in 2007 as a Government Relations Deputy Director, and served as Outreach Coordinator in 2014. She has represented military families on several committees and task forces for offices and agencies of the Department of Defense (DoD) and military services. She is Co-Chair of The Military Coalition (TMC), an organization of 34 military-related associations. She is also Co-Chair of TMC’s Survivor Committee. In 2008-2011, she represented NMFA on the first DoD Military Family Readiness Council.

Prior to joining NMFA, Kelly worked to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs as the chief of staff of CONNECT and the chief of staff of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

A Navy spouse for 27 years, Hruska has served in various volunteer leadership positions in civilian and military community organizations including COMPASS mentor, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, The Girl Scouts, and Navy Spouses Clubs. She was also appointed to the City Commission on Children and Youth by the Corpus Christi City Council. Kelly is a recipient of the Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Medal in recognition of her work on behalf of service members and their families at Navy Region Center Singapore.

Click here for more information or to register for this event.

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About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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