WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) and Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) introduced the “Wounded Warrior Housing Reform Act of 2016” (H.R. 4753). This bipartisan bill would add disability compensation and pension benefits for veterans of a period of war who are 65 years of age or older to the list of items that are excluded from income, to determine a veteran’s eligibility for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing assistance programs.
“The brave men and women who have served our country, deserve the respect of our government, and our nation,” said Rep. Vargas. “We need to remove the obstacles that stand in the way of our veterans receiving the benefits they earned, starting by ensuring that they have a roof over their heads. ”
HUD’s rental assistance programs provide veterans and other special communities with affordable housing options. Many veterans depend on federal benefit programs and disability payments every month to meet their needs. However, HUD considers a handful of these programs a part of a veteran’s income. This reduces the housing assistance available for low-income disabled veterans. The Wounded Warrior Housing Reform bill would exclude disability compensation and certain pensions from counting as income, allowing more disabled veterans to qualify for affordable housing.
“Veterans sacrificed or risked everything to protect our country,” said Rep. Donovan. “The least our country can do is be there for them in their time of need. This legislation is a commonsense way to make sure injured service members have access to safe housing, and I’m proud to support it.”
Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire US/Mexico border. Vargas was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently serving his second term in Congress. He represented the 40th California State Senate District from 2010-2012, the 79th California State Assembly District from 2000 – 2006 and served on the San Diego City Council from 1993 – 2000.
Rep. Donovan represents Staten Island and South Brooklyn. He is New York City’s only Republican Member of Congress. Donovan assumed office after a special election in May 2015. Before coming to Congress, Donovan served as Richmond County District Attorney for 12 years.