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The Minnesota Homeless Veteran Registry identifies all known homeless veterans in an effort to ensure that they have access to appropriate housing and social services

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), and Representatives Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-1), Angie Craig (D-MN-2), Dean Phillips (D-MN-3), Betty McCollum (D-MN-4), Ihan Omar (D-MN-5), Tom Emmer (R-MN-6), Collin Peterson (D-MN-7), and Pete Stauber (R-MN-8) sent a letter today to Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie highlighting Minnesota’s efforts to address veteran homelessness and urging him to examine if the VA could benefit from implementing similar programs at the federal level. The Minnesota Homeless Veteran Registry was created in 2014 to identify all known homeless veterans in an effort to ensure that they have access to appropriate housing and social services. The Registry helps to recognize the underlying factors contributing to veteran homelessness, including mental health issues, substance abuse, and economic hardship. In the letter, the members asked Wilkie about the VA’s efforts to address veteran homelessness and urged him to consider implementing Minnesota’s registry program.

 

“We write regarding the urgent need to address veteran homelessness and to highlight efforts by the state of Minnesota to address this critical issue, which could serve as a model for the rest of the country,” the members wrote. “As we work to continue Minnesota’s efforts to ensure that the brave men and women who sacrificed for our country have homes, we respectfully request that you provide us information regarding the Department’s efforts to address this critical issue. We also ask that the Department consider Minnesota’s progress in decreasing veteran homelessness as it seeks to ensure that every veteran has a home.”

 

The full text of the letter can be found below:

 

Dear Secretary Wilkie:

 

We write regarding the urgent need to address veteran homelessness and to highlight efforts by the state of Minnesota to address this critical issue, which could serve as a model for the rest of the country.

 

For years, Minnesota has been committed to addressing veteran homelessness. A key part of these efforts has been the Minnesota Homeless Veteran Registry, which was created in 2014 to identify all known homeless veterans in an effort to ensure that they have access to appropriate housing and social services. The Registry helps to recognize the underlying factors contributing to veteran homelessness, including mental health issues, substance abuse, and economic hardship. Any veteran who served in the Active Duty, Reserves, or National Guard can voluntarily join the Registry, regardless of the type of discharge. Once identified, a veteran will be contacted by housing and social service professionals who can help to meet their needs.

 

Since the registry was established, Minnesota has reduced the number of homeless veterans by 1,710—by connecting those who served our country with services and housing. At the same time, reports have indicated that there are still approximately 200 homeless veterans on the Registry who require housing assistance, and we are working with the state to identify any other veterans that may not yet be on the registry. Minnesota’s Governor has also expressed his commitment to addressing veteran homelessness and has announced a commitment to ending it altogether by the end of this year.

 

As we work to continue Minnesota’s efforts to ensure that the brave men and women who sacrificed for our country have homes, we respectfully request that you provide us information regarding the Department’s efforts to address this critical issue. We also ask that the Department consider Minnesota’s progress in decreasing veteran homelessness as it seeks to ensure that every veteran has a home.

 

Thank you for your attention to this critical matter. We look forward to your response.

 

Sincerely,

 

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