House GOP Spending Cuts Would Prevent 10,000 Low-Income Veterans From Receiving Housing Assistance

As we’ve been detailing, the continuing resolution that House Republicans have approved — which sets spending levels for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year — would gut important federal investments in special education, K-12 education for low-income students, federal job training, environmental protection, community health centers, infrastructure, and programs that aid both pregnant women and newborns.

Melissa Boteach, Manager of the Half in Ten campaign, added one more example to this egregious list today — the House Republican spending plan would prevent 10,000 low-income military veterans from receiving housing assistance:

The House GOP is boasting that their spending bill to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 makes the largest cuts to domestic annual spending in history. But you don’t hear them boasting that these cuts will cut unemployed workers off of job training, force low-income veterans into homelessness, result in millions of low-income college students losing some or all of their education aid, or cause tens of thousands of vulnerable seniors to lose access to home-delivered food baskets…Cuts in the GOP bill would cut in half the number of veterans who would receive housing vouchers this year, preventing 10,000 low-income veterans from receiving assistance to avoid homelessness.

This cut would come at a time when 135,000 veterans are already homeless. According to a study from the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs, about 16 percent of the homeless population is composed of veterans:

About 16% of homeless adults in a one-night survey in January 2009 were veterans, though vets make up only 10% of the adult population. More than 75,000 veterans were living on the streets or in a temporary shelter that night. In that year, 136,334 veterans spent at least one night in a homeless shelter — a count that did not include homeless veterans living on the streets. The urgency of the problem is growing as more people return from service in Iraq and Afghanistan. The study found 11,300 younger veterans, 18 to 30, were in shelters at some point during 2009. Virtually all served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The homeless veterans covered in the study amount to “one of every 168 veterans in the USA and one of every 10 veterans living in poverty.”

Republicans, of course, pledged to protect America’s veterans from these kinds of cuts. In fact, their much-ballyhooed “Pledge to America” promised “common-sense exceptions [from spending cuts] for seniors, veterans, and our troops.” Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) himself endorsed the same exemptions. The Obama administration, meanwhile, called for increasing funding for the voucher program in its 2012 budget.