REP. LIEU INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO GIVE HOMELESS VETERANS ACCESS TO LEGAL SERVICES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) introduced the Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act of 2016. This legislation would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to enter into agreements with third parties to provide pro bono legal services to homeless and at-risk Veterans across the country. A recent study by the VA found that at least five out of the top 10 problems leading to homelessness among Veterans cannot be solved without legal help.
Upon introduction of his legislation, Mr. Lieu issued the following statement:
“Affordable legal services are a key component to solving Veteran homelessness, but the VA does not presently have the flexibility it needs to adequately fund those services. We must do more to fuel partnerships between law firms and civil legal-aid, community health and housing organizations that are doing cutting-edge work to address Veteran homelessness in Los Angeles and across the nation. The Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act is an important step to ensure that no Veteran who has served our nation in uniform ever needs to fight for a roof over their head.”
Support for the Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act of 2016:
Charles E. Schmidt, National Commander of the American Legion – "Veterans have defended our constitutional rights. We need to ensure that the favor is returned when veterans are facing legal challenges. The American Legion believes that homeless and at-risk veterans deserve strong representation when dealing with eviction or routine legal matters. We hope that Congress will support Representative Lieu's legislation. The American Legion will always be an advocate for veterans in need.”
Ray Kelley, National Legislative Affairs Director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars – “The Veterans of Foreign Wars is proud to support this common sense solution that will assist homeless veterans with their legal hurdles. We are happy to see Representative Lieu taking issues like this head on, and we look forward to hearing about the successful outcomes this bill will bring.”
Garry Augustine, Executive Director of Disabled American Veterans – “DAV is pleased to support Representative Lieu’s Legal Services For Homeless Veterans Act of 2016, which will afford legal services to homeless and at-risk veterans. Too often, veterans struggling with homelessness fall into a pattern which makes them unable to find stability and establish employment and a permanent residence. These critical legal services, made available through partnerships with the Department of Veterans Affairs, will address this largely unmet need and help veterans overcome barriers and break free from the cycle of homelessness.”
Ellen Lawton, Co-Director of the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership at The George Washington University – "Civil legal problems — from threatened evictions to other-than-honorable discharges from the military that prevent a veteran from accessing critical income benefits — are often the greatest obstacles to a veteran’s health, housing, stability, and productivity. But while the VA has long realized the impact of legal problems on housing and health, it is restricted from funding critical legal services. The Legal Services for Homeless Vets bill opens the door for tens of thousands of our nation's veterans to get the care they need to become stably housed."
Martha Bergmark, Executive Director of Voices for Civil Justice – "For a veteran, legal help can mean the difference between having a home and living on the street. Congressman Lieu's bill will enable the VA to forge stronger partnerships with civil legal aid programs in order to provide vital assistance to veterans across the country.”