Mikulski, Senate Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Help End Veteran Homelessness

Legislation Would Allow Taxpayers to Contribute to a Homeless Veterans Fund by Checking a Box on Their IRS Returns

WASHINGTON, DC – January 28, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.),a member of the Senate Military Family Caucus, today announced that she has introduced legislation along with Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to help end homelessness among our nation’s veterans. The Check the Box for Homeless Veterans Act of 2013 offers taxpayers the opportunity to help keep those who have served our country off the streets by making a voluntary contribution on their annual federal income tax return to support programs that prevent and combat veteran homelessness.

“I believe our support for our military in the field must be matched by support for our veterans at home,” Senator Mikulski said. “Promises made to our veterans must be promises kept. This legislation will give Americans a way to show our vets gratitude not just with words, but with deeds.”

Senator Boxer said, “It is inexcusable that tens of thousands of homeless veterans spend their nights on the streets, and this new check-off box would give Americans a simple way to give back to those who have given so much for us.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, each night approximately 62,619 of our nation’s veterans are homeless, representing 13 percent of the adult homeless population in the United States. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates that 1.4 million more veterans are at risk of becoming homeless because of poverty, lack of support from family and friends, substance use or mental health issues, and precarious living conditions.

This legislation would give taxpayers the option to check a box on their annual tax return and make a voluntary contribution in the amount of their choice to a new Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund established in the U.S. Treasury. Donations to the fund would be used to provide assistance to homeless veterans through initiatives at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Labor.

The legislation would support the Administration’s comprehensive five-year plan to end homelessness among our nation’s veterans by 2015.

Senator Mikulski has been a strong advocate for veterans and military families. As Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she has fought to put money in the federal checkbook to fund expansions in programs to help veterans find jobs. She led the fight for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program to help vets reintegrate into civilian lives and connect with potential employers and was a vocal proponent of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which provides veterans with job training and education while encouraging businesses to hire disabled and unemployed veterans.

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