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(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller’s (R-NV) legislation, Creating A Reliable Environment (CARE) for Veterans’ Dependents Act, passed the U.S. Senate. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senator Heller introduced this legislation to ensure that children of homeless veterans are eligible for services provided to that veteran by VA-funded facilities. Following his fight to ensure this must-pass provision cleared the Senate, Senator Heller issued this statement:

“In cities like Las Vegas and Reno, where veteran homelessness remains a serious problem, it is imperative that dependents of veterans, especially their children, are taken care of when their veteran parent has fallen on hard times. I am proud that the Senate passed my legislation to help get our heroes and their families back on their feet,” said Senator Dean Heller. “It is an honor to advocate on behalf of Nevada’s more than 300,000 veterans, and I will continue fighting to ensure each and every one of them is taken care of.”

Senator Heller also spoke on the Senate floor. You can click HERE or on the video below to watch his remarks.

Background:

  • Under current law, the VA Grant and Per Diem program does not reimburse VA-funded facilities for services provided to a homeless veteran’s dependent.
  • Children accompanying their veteran parent who has fallen on hard times can be turned away from receiving care at VA-funded facilities.
  • The CARE for Veterans’ Dependents Act simply allows the VA to reimburse facilities for care of a dependent of a veteran receiving care at a shelter funded by the VA Grant and Per Diem program.
  • The CARE for Veterans’ Dependents Act passed as an amendment to Senator Patty Murray’s (D-WA) Homeless Veterans Services Protection Act (S.1731), as modified.  

A PDF copy of the CARE for Veterans’ Dependents Act is available HERE.

Remarks as prepared:

Mr. President, I want to thank Senator Murray for her efforts here today and for her willingness to work with me on including a provision that we’ve worked on together for several years now as members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Senator Murray’s legislation ensures that homeless veterans continue to be eligible for the VA’s Grant and Per Diem Program. 

With my provision that Senator Murray has agreed to include, this legislation will also extend this eligibility to the dependents of homeless veterans.

Given the work that I have done with Senator Murray on eligibility for homeless veterans’ dependents, I believe it was important we addressed both the needs of the veteran, as well as their dependents.

In cities like Las Vegas, where veteran homelessness remains a serious problem, the supportive housing and service centers that receive VA funding are absolutely critical to getting these veterans back on their feet.

Not only do the programs provide housing, but they also offer services, such as case management, education, crisis intervention, and other services to special populations such as homeless women veterans.

This Congress has a responsibility to ensure that existing veterans under this program remain eligible, but also that dependents of veterans, especially their children, are taken care of when their veteran parent has fallen on hard times.

That is why I introduced the CARE for Veterans’ Dependents Act with Senator Murray to make dependents eligible for care at VA-funded facilities.

These children and their parents deserve the certainty that they will be able to access supportive housing during their serious time of need.

I am proud that we were able to move forward on this measure, which was just accepted by unanimous consent.

Senator Murray and I have a proud history of working together to advocate on behalf of our nation’s veterans, and today’s passage of this legislation is another testament to our strong partnership on behalf of veterans.

I am also grateful to Chairman Isakson and Ranking Member Blumenthal of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee for working so diligently with us to make this happen.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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