Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Congressman Max Rose (NY-11) today introduced the Homeless Veterans Credit Repair, Enhancement, and Debt Improvement for Tomorrow (CREDIT) Act to help end veteran homelessness and housing instability. Credit and financial counseling services remain a top ten unmet need for our nation’s homeless veterans.
The bill directs the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct a study of the effectiveness of credit and financial counseling services offered to homeless and housing unstable veterans. The study will explore these services and the barriers to them, including the COVID-19 pandemic and other health challenges. The study would provide recommendations for improvements to credit counseling services. The bill will also require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide an interim and final report to Congress on the findings of the study.
“During this time of economic uncertainty, it is important that we look out for our most vulnerable communities, including homeless and housing unstable veterans. We have a responsibility to help those who served in uniform and stood ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country. This bill will help address veteran homelessness by improving credit and financial counseling services offered to veterans,” Congressman Pallone said. “Our bill also directs the study to investigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on homeless veterans, so we have a better understanding of how to improve the services offered to our nation’s heroes. I thank Congressman Max Rose for his service and steadfast support of our veterans.”
“Veteran homelessness was already a crisis long before COVID-19 hit, and now that this virus has ravaged our economy, it’s only amplifying the need for credit and financial counseling to help veterans get back on their feet,” said Congressman Rose, who is a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “This bill will help put us on a sustainable path towards keeping veterans out of debt and in their homes.”
The bill has been endorsed by the Department of New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Syracuse University Institute of Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), and the Wounded Warrior Project.
“On behalf of New Jersey military veterans, I thank Congressman Pallone for caring enough to produce legislation for some of our most vulnerable members in the Veteran Community. The Congressman has been a friend to New Jersey veterans for many years and we truly appreciate his efforts in this latest piece of legislation,” said Barbara Kim Hagemann, State Commander of New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
“To address housing needs in isolation is insufficient. In order to fully appreciate how to address such needs, a research-based approach to understand how financial and credit support can play a critical role in holistically supporting veterans experiencing homelessness is required. The Homeless Veterans CREDIT Act takes this approach,” said Nicholas J. Armstrong, Senior Director of Research and Analytics at the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families.
Full bill text is available here. A section by section summary of the bill can be found here.