Four days after touting the Trump administration’s commitment to end veteran homelessness, Sec. of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, pictured below, flip-flopped and essentially ended a $460 million dollar program.
To be more accurate, the funds were folded into the overall VA budget under the vague condition that at least some of it is used to help veterans get off the streets. According to HUD in their annual report to Congress, the program has been effective: although the overall rate of homelessness increased .7% since last year, for rate for veterans fell 3.1% everywhere except Los Angeles and New York City.
Perhaps it’s no small coincidence that, like his pseudo-patriotic boss, Shulkin has not served a single day in the military, despite a family tradition of service.
Shulkin denied the characterization of the policy change as a cut in Twitter:
VA News Release: Statement by Secretary Shulkin – Homeless Funding https://t.co/Z14WfZjGQm
— Veterans Affairs (@DeptVetAffairs) December 6, 2017
The statement linked in the tweet says the following:
There will be absolutely no change in the funding to support our homeless programs. We will not be shifting any homeless program money to the Choice program. The President has increased VA homeless program funding by $66 million in his fiscal year 2018 budget.
Maybe Shulkin knows something about the budget proposal currently being reconciled between the Senate and House than most citizens – including the Democratic members of the Senate and House – know, but the HUD and VA budget proposals from the summer showed clear homelessness-related cuts. For example, the HUD proposal cut the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program from $81 million in 2017 to $0 in 2018.
On a personal note, as a veteran myself who is lucky enough to have a roof over my head, I understand that all Americans overwhelming support ending all homelessness, especially for vets and children; however, what I can’t stand is the hypocrisy of Trump’s claim to care for them vs. his actual expenditures when the rubber meets the road.
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