U.S.VETS President and CEO Steve Peck joined a host of veteran’s advocates earlier this month who gathered to watch Gov. Jerry Brown sign a proposal that will soon give voters the option to free up $600 million to help house needy veterans.
The governor signed the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act, AB639, which will allow for a restructuring of existing funds for veteran housing to better meet the changing needs of veterans and their families, on October 10 in San Diego.
“This is a smart and compassionate way to help California’s veterans and their families find the housing they need, and to help California lead the nation’s efforts to end veterans’ homelessness by 2015,” Peck, who served as a lieutenant in the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam.
A $900 million bond to support veteran housing, approved by California voters in 2008, was directed toward low-interest home loans, which market forces made unnecessary, and contained restrictions limiting its ability to serve many of the veterans who have dire housing needs.
Through the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act, which will be on the June ballot, those restrictions will be lifted so the funds can be used for multi-family and supportive housing for veterans who are homeless, at risk for homelessness, and in need of services such as mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, job training, and/or struggling with physical injuries and unemployment.
Peck will help lead the effort to pass the ballot measure.
“California voters will have the opportunity this spring to support the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act,” Peck said. “It is vital to ensure that the men and women who have served our country receive every opportunity they deserve.”
With almost two million veterans, California is home to the largest veteran population in the U.S. Of those, 19,000 are homeless – representing nearly 25 percent of homeless veterans in the nation. By addressing the needs of veterans in California, we take a big step forward in reducing the number of homeless veterans across the entire country.