Rebuilding Together Supports the Housing America's Veterans Act of 2012 (HR 6381)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit who believes in a safe and healthy home for every person, is pleased to support House Resolution 6381, a bill that would help nonprofits rehabilitate and repair homes of disabled and low-income veterans.  U.S. Representative Al Green (D-TX ), Representative Spencer Bachus (R-AL) and Representative Joe Heck (R-NV) introduced HR 6381, the Housing America's Veterans Act of 2012, on September 12.  

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On Friday, September 14th, the Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing about the bill and issues related to Veteran's homelessness titled "Housing for Heroes: Examining How Federal Programs Can Better Serve Veterans." Rebuilding Together provided written testimony in support of the bill.

"I am honored to work with Congressman Green and his colleagues, Chairman Spencer Bachus and Congressman Joe Heck on HR 6381, which would help us better serve those who have served us all. This legislation would help nonprofits bring together volunteers and private sector investment to help veterans live safely and comfortably in their homes," said Gary A. Officer, President and CEO of Rebuilding Together.

"The bill and Friday's hearing shine a light on the critical need to engage nonprofits to stretch Federal funding to complement existing programs that help house veteran. Rebuilding Together is happy to join with Congressman Green, who is a veteran himself, VetsFirst, and other veterans' service organizations on this bipartisan, common sense proposal to help provide homes to our heroes."

More than 1.4 million veterans live in poverty, with 4.3 million veteran homeowners reporting a disability, and a quarter of post-9/11 veterans returning home with a service-connected disability, according to data from the National Housing Conference and the U.S. Census Bureau. The need to serve veterans is greater than ever before.

HR 6381 would create a competitive grant program for nonprofits to repair and rehab single family homes of veterans who are disabled or under 80 percent of the Area Median Income, as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Gary Officer from Rebuilding Together added that for Veterans returning home with severe injuries such as amputation or traumatic brain injury, readjustment and reintegration can be hampered by the lack of a wheelchair ramp or the ability to take a shower. Older Veterans who served so honorably years ago, must navigate stairs that present a falling hazard, roofs that leak, or living without heat or hot water, which are all dangerous but correctable conditions.

Rebuilding Together's Veteran's Housing program aims to fills the gaps in modifications and repair services that retired and active service men and women struggle to meet.  Rebuilding Together has rehabbed and modified 1,300 veterans' homes and 25 veterans' centers, touching the lives of over 7,600 veterans and family members over the last 5 years.  

HR 6381 is a Veterans housing pilot for home rehabilitation and modification that would complement existing government programs by allowing housing nonprofits and veteran service organizations to collaborate with the Federal government by applying for grants provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The program would serve Veterans who are low-income or disabled and who own their homes or are living in the owner-occupied home of a family member.  The work would include simple repairs to help keep Veterans stay safe and healthy and out of more costly health care facilities: repairing roofs, floors, walls, electrical wiring, and plumbing; replacing leaky or damaged doors and windows; installing handrails, grab bars, toilet assist units, handicap-accessible showers, and wheelchair ramps; and widening doorways and passageways, and improving lighting.

ABOUT REBUILDING TOGETHER

Rebuilding Together believes that everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home. Our focus provides critical repairs, accessibility modifications and energy efficient upgrades to low-income homes and community centers at no cost to service recipients. Our impact extends beyond the individuals served to revitalize and stabilize vulnerable neighborhoods and communities across the country. Our 200 local affiliates complete 10,000 rebuild projects a year thanks to the efforts of nearly 200,000 volunteers from corporate partners, skilled trades professionals and everyday good citizens. Join us — visit www.RebuildingTogether.org.

SOURCE Rebuilding Together



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