A congressman from South Florida wants to add a new “check-off box” on federal tax forms giving taxpayers the option to voluntarily ensure part of their taxes go to help homeless veterans.
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee and the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, teamed up with U.S. Reps. Tim Murphy, R-Penn., and Brad Schneider, D-Ill., to introduce the “Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund Act” on Tuesday. The proposal “would make these funds available to the VA, in consultation with the Departments of Labor and Housing and Urban Development, solely to provide services to homeless veterans, including developing and implementing new and innovative strategies to end veteran homelessness.”
Deutch made his case for the bill on Tuesday.
“When Americans go from risking their lives on the battlefield to struggling to find shelter on the streets, we know we’re failing our veterans,” said Deutch. “A young American’s decision to serve in our Armed Forces should not lead them into poverty and homelessness. With this bill, the American people can help homeless veterans access the crucial services they need by donating directly to a fund overseen by Congress.”
“On any night in America, nearly 40,000 veterans are without a home,” said Schneider. “It’s unconscionable that men and women who served our country, and may still bear the physical and mental scars of that service, are forced to live on the streets. Giving Americans the option to divert a portion of their tax refund to aid homeless veterans is a small, commonsense step to make it easier to give back to those who sacrificed for us.”
“The United States is home to the best Armed Forces in the world, yet too many of these brave heroes cannot call our nation home when they return from their service to spend their nights on the cold streets and alleyways of our communities," said Murphy. "This is shameful. As Americans, we have an obligation to end veterans homelessness and protect those who have protected us.”
The bill would ensure the White House would notify Congress about the Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund’s budget and how its funds would be spent.