Contact: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington State Veterans Bar Association
Washington State Veterans Bar Association Applauds
Sen. Patty Murray's Homeless Veterans Services Protection Act
Seattle, Washington – July 14, 2015: Washington State Veterans Bar Association (WSVBA) announced today that it applauds and supports Sen. Patty Murray's (D-WA) introduction of The Homeless Veterans Services Protection Act.
The Homeless Veterans Services Protection Act would prevent thousands of homeless veterans from losing access to housing services. The Department of Veterans Affairs has proposed changes to a decades-old policy for homeless services that would bar access for some veterans who served less than two years continuously or who had an “other than honorable” discharge. This bill would ensure that those veterans continue to receive housing services.
“Senator Murray's legislation properly makes a legal distinction between safety-net services for homeless veterans and earned benefits,” said John M. Tymczyszyn, WSVBA chair. “The Veterans Administration legal review process is flawed; the VA's proposed changes are without legislative approval and would alter preexisting policy that has worked for decades. There is no compelling government interest in denying homeless veterans services based on their characterization of discharge or time in service.”
“Additionally, since 9/11, the process by which veterans have been discharged has been deeply flawed. Service connected physical-health conditions, mental-heath conditions, and substance abuse are the main contributing factors to both “other than honorable discharges” and veterans homelessness. Denial of homeless services to veterans based on the legal reasoning of VA bureaucrats is absurd and would likely costs lives. VA attorneys should look to President Obama and Secretary McDonald's initiative to end veteran's homelessness if they are in need of additional direction on the spirit and purpose of laws surrounding veterans homelessness.”
Introduction of The Homeless Veterans Services Protection Act will ensure that, in the future, veterans cannot be turned away from the very organizations that are there to provide them safety-net services because they don't meet certain length of service or discharge requirements. This bill will help ensure that our country is fulfilling our promise to care for our even most destitute veterans.
About Washington State Veterans Bar Association
Washington State Veterans Bar Association (WSVBA) is a networking organization for attorneys and law students who have served in the United States Armed Forces. We are a non-partisan and veteran-centric organization. We seek to provide a voice for the 650,000 veterans of Washington State and address legal, political, and social issues facing veterans and their families.