President Donald Trump’s Veterans Affairs Department will cut funding for a program that locates housing for homeless veterans.
According to a report from Politico, the VA said that the cuts to the $460 million program would essentially end it. VA Secretary David Shulkin said the funding will instead go to local VA hospitals, provided they can prove they are in some way addressing homelessness.
Politico reported that the program has been successful in reducing homelessness among chronically sick and vulnerable veterans, having served 138,000 veterans since 2010 and halving the number of those without housing on any given day.
According to Politico, the decision affects $265 million in funding straight away and would divert a further $195 million more under the VA’s 2018 budget.
Advocates and state officials on the December 1 call were outraged over the decision to slash its funding.
Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington — a member of the veterans’ affairs subcommittee — blasted the decision as “a new low” for the Trump administration.
The news came on the heels of an annual survey by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that showed a 1.5 percent increase in veteran homelessness over the course of 2016. This is the first time there has been an increase since 2010.
The move also did not seem in line with a joint press conference by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Shulkin, during which they promised they were committed to ending homelessness among veterans.
Shulkin was named Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health by former President Obama in 2015. He was nominated by President-elect Trump as VA Secretary in January of 2017./reverepress.com