WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help provide suitable housing for veterans in need. The Housing Assistance for Veterans (HAVEN) Act authorizes a competitive, five year pilot program to assist disabled and low-income veterans in need of housing adaptation or home repairs. The HAVEN Act allows non-profit organizations to apply for federal grants administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help make simple repairs, keeping veterans safe, healthy and out of more costly health care facilities.“We owe it to those who have sacrificed so much protecting our homeland to ensure they have a safe and accessible home to return to following their tour of service,” Johanns said. “The public-private partnerships created by the HAVEN Act will help address our veterans’ housing needs in an efficient and responsible manner. It’s an important way to say ‘thank you’ to those who have given so much for our country by ensuring their basic needs are met.”
“The HAVEN Act seeks to build successful public-private partnerships to better serve veterans in need of housing assistance,” Reed said. “The HAVEN Act will help more veterans get critical repairs and accessibility modifications so their homes are safer and more accessible. This is about helping the community come together to help our veterans and giving back to those who have sacrificed to serve our country. I urge my Senate colleagues to swiftly take up and pass this bipartisan legislation to help all veterans live in safe, healthy homes that meet their needs.”
The HAVEN Act applies to all veterans with disabilities, regardless of whether the disability is related to their service. Grant recipients are expected to match federal funding to extend the program’s reach.
Examples of renovation and modifications to existing homes under the HAVEN Act could include the installation of wheelchair ramps and bannisters, widening doors, replacing unsafe electrical wiring, removing mold and making other necessary adjustments to existing structures.
The Haven Act is supported by Rebuilding Together, VetsFirst, Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Habitat for Humanity, Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans, and the American Legion.