Senate approves bill redefining homeless veterans

The Senate passed a bill by unanimous consent Wednesday to expand the definition of a homeless veteran.

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) introduced the Helping Homeless Veterans Act earlier this year. S. 287 would allow a veteran or veterans’ family member fleeing domestic violence or sexual assault to be categorized as homeless in order to receive certain benefits offered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

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The bill would allow the veteran or the family member of a veteran to receive housing assistance if they are living in a life-threatening environment.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) cosponsored the legislation.

Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) has a companion measure in the House, but the bill is still waiting to be considered by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. 

If the House passes the measure during this congressional session, the bill would head to President Obama’s desk for his signature before becoming law.