Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.’s (NJ-06) Homeless Veterans Credit Repair, Enhancement, and Debt Improvement for Tomorrow (CREDIT) Act passed the House of Representatives today. The bill will help end veteran homelessness and housing instability by providing credit and financial counseling – a top ten unmet need for homeless veterans. In February, Pallone held a virtual roundtable with veterans in New Jersey to discuss how this bill would help the veteran community.
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 veterans and veterans facing housing instability. 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.
“Today, the House took action to alleviate veteran homelessness. The Homeless Veterans CREDIT Act will help address veteran homelessness by improving credit and financial counseling services offered to veterans. During this time of economic uncertainty, we must look out for our most vulnerable communities, including homeless veterans and those at risk of becoming homeless. My bill will give us a better understanding of how to improve the services offered to our veterans,” said Congressman Pallone. “We have a responsibility to help those who served in uniform and stood ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I want to thank the House Veterans Affairs Committee for making this bill a priority and for their unwavering support for our country’s heroes.”
The Homeless Veterans CREDIT Act received the endorsement of the Wounded Warrior Project, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, Department of New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Legion Department of New Jersey.
“We are pleased that the House of Representatives passed HR 1257. This legislation is another step in getting our returning veterans on track for their futures. We thank Congressman Pallone for seeking out the American Legion Department of New Jersey, in crafting this most important legislation,” said Joseph M. Gugliuzza, Legislative Chairman, the American Legion Department of New Jersey.
“Our research and experience tell us that financial stability and literacy are cornerstones of overall well-being for veterans and their families. Thanks to Congressman Pallone’s leadership on this issue, the Homeless Veterans CREDIT Act will commission much needed research on how financial counseling programs can positively impact some of the most vulnerable members of the veteran population,” said Dr. Michael Haynie, Executive Director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Vice Chancellor of Syracuse University. “In doing so, this bill will empower our veterans, contributing to a healthier, safer, and more equitable society for generations to come.”
“Wounded Warrior Project is proud to support the Homeless Veterans CREDIT Act, and we believe it is critically important to fully understand the barriers homeless veterans face in accessing financial and credit counseling services. We applaud the passage of this bill by the House of Representatives and thank Congressman Pallone for his continued commitment to veterans and their families,” said Jose Ramos, Wounded Warrior Project Vice President for Government and Community Relations.
“The New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars is proud of Congressman Pallone’s legislation on behalf of homeless veterans. We thank Congressman Pallone for letting our organization share in his efforts to bring meaningful change to the lives of these men and women,” said Bill Thomson, Legislative Director for the Department of New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Pallone spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor today. Video of the speech is available here.
Bill text is available here.