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Banks Cosponsors Legislation For Homeless Veterans

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Nick Janzen/IPB News
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One of the main talking points of third district Republican representative Jim Banks’ town hall in Fort Wayne last week focused on improving services for veterans who experience homelessness. Now, Banks is hoping to address these concerns with new legislation.

During the town hall at VFW Post 857 on January 23, a woman named Jennifer told Banks her story of becoming homeless following her military service.

After two months, she and her two daughters found help from Final Salute, Inc., a D.C.-based organization dedicated to supporting female veterans. She said they helped her family out of homelessness.

“That’s all that they could do," Jennifer said. "But why wasn’t there any help for me as a female veteran that was homeless facing this horrible crisis right here in Northeast Indiana?”

Banks says Jennifer’s story inspired him to cosponsor the “Homeless Veteran Families Act.” The Department of Veterans Affairs does not currently have authority to reimburse providers for costs associated with minor dependents of homeless veterans which, in turn, disproportionately affects women. This proposal aims to commit reimbursements to those providers at a 50 percent rate, with the goal of housing more women and children.

“This legislation is one way we can help all veterans who have families and ensure that female veterans have more access to services during times of hardship,” said Banks. “As a nation, we need to ensure keeping veterans and their families together is a top priority.”

The proposal has bipartisan support, and was first proposed by Colorado Republican Mike Coffman and California Democrat Julia Brownley. It also has the backing of the following veterans service organizations:

The American Legion
The Wounded Warrior Project
Disabled American Veterans
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Got Your 6
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Military Order of the Purple Heart
American Veterans (AMVETS)

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