Ernst: Our Homeless Veterans Deserve Our Support, Especially During COVID-19

The Iowa senator is working on a bipartisan bill to increase resources for homeless veterans—some of our most vulnerable individuals during this pandemic

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), the first female combat veteran elected to the United States Senate, is working on bipartisan legislation to support homeless veterans in Iowa, and across the country, during COVID-19. Ernst is joining fellow veteran Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) on a bipartisan bill to increase resources for homeless veterans during the COVID-19 public health emergency by granting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) greater flexibility in caring for and meeting the needs of our homeless veterans.

“Without access to some of the most basic hygiene products and the ability to social distance, our homeless veterans are some of our most vulnerable individuals during COVID-19. As our nation’s heroes who have sacrificed so much, they deserve our support, particularly during these difficult times. This bipartisan bill will allow the VA to help get these folks the resources and support they need,” said Senator Ernst.

“Homeless veterans are some of the most at-risk Americans for COVID-19 infection and the resulting health challenges without the support and shelter most of us take for granted,” said Senator Sullivan. “These men and women stepped up and sacrificed on behalf of our country when we needed them most. With this legislation, my colleagues and I reaffirm our commitment to honoring their service by making sure the VA is properly resourced to meet the unique needs of our hardest-hit veterans affected during the pandemic.”

“The federal government must fulfill its promises to America’s veterans and reduce veteran homelessness. Our bipartisan bill increases veterans’ access to housing, health care, and emergency resources during the ongoing public health crisis,” said Senator Sinema, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

The bipartisan Homeless Veterans Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 would loosen certain regulations and enable the VA to use existing resources to offer homeless veterans the additional assistance they may need, including transportation, communication devices and services, and basic amenities, like clothing, blankets and hygiene items. The law would also allow the VA to work with partner organizations to set up shelters on its properties. Finally, the bill ensures homeless veterans have access to the VA’s telehealth services.

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