LEWISTON, ME – May 25, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — At Veterans Inc. today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) renewed his commitment to ending veteran homelessness and working to support veterans of recent conflicts as they transition back into civilian life. Senator King, who last year supported a major overhaul of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, today toured Veterans Inc.’s new facility in Lewiston, which provides housing and support services to homeless veterans, where he talked with staff and held a roundtable discussion with veterans on the challenges they face overcoming homelessness and transitioning back to civilian life.
During the discussion, Senator King highlighted legislation he introduced last week with Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), the Housing for Homeless Students Act, which would ensure that veterans who have experienced homelessness within the last five years have access to affordable housing while they pursue an education.
“Those who have served our nation and risked their lives to defend our freedom should never have to go without a roof over their heads. But if they do, they should know the country they served will be there to extend a hand to help get them back up on their feet,” Senator King said. “That’s why organizations like Veterans Inc. are so important. As I saw today, with the support of the federal government, Veterans Inc. is giving Maine veterans a safe, stable place to live while fostering new opportunities that can help get their lives back on track. And by making small, commonsense changes to current law as the Housing for Homeless Students Act does, we can open new doors for homeless veterans. I will continue to work closely with my colleagues to see that those who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms have access to the most comprehensive assistance programs available.”
The Housing for Homeless Students Act would close a loophole that prevents many full-time students – including veterans – from qualifying for affordable rental housing funded through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). Under current law, tenants – including homeless and formerly homeless individuals – must be full-time students to qualify. This legislation would fix that problem by allowing full-time students and veterans who experience or have recently experienced homelessness to become eligible – or retain eligibility – for LIHTC housing. In effect, the bill would ensure that veterans who have faced homelessness don’t have to make the difficult choice between a place to call home and a good education that could help them find new opportunities.
According to 2014 Department of Housing and Urban Development statistics, Maine has approximately 152 homeless veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has said that it hopes to make that number a “functional zero” by the end of this year. Organizations like Veterans Inc. have led the charge in helping to reduce veteran homelessness in Maine. Veterans Inc. recently opened its Lewiston facility, which can provide up to 20 male veterans with an independent and dignified living space along with a wide array of supportive services for the veterans and their families, including case management, employment and training, and community resources connections.
Veterans Inc. is New England’s leading provider of support services to veterans and their families. Since 1991, Veterans Inc. has helped more than 55,000 veterans in need and today operates offices and programs in all six New England states.