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VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report
The Department of Veterans Affairs is slashing funding for a key program that helps provide housing to homeless veterans, according to a new report.
Politico reports the VA told advocates and state officials in a call last week that the $460 million program would essentially end.
VA Secretary David Shulkin reportedly told those on the call that the money for the program would now go to VA hospitals for use as they see fit. The hospitals must show that they are working to deal with homelessness as part of their work, according to Politico.
Activists and officials were reportedly furious about the decision, five people who listened in on the call told the news organization.
Elisha Harig-Blaine of the National League of Cities told Politico after the call that the VA was "putting at risk the lives of men and women who've served this country."
The decision comes after a joint press conference between Shulkin and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson at a Washington, D.C., homeless shelter in which the two announced a new commitment to ending homelessness among the nation's veterans.
The program provides housing vouchers to veterans via the Department of Housing and Urban Development while the VA continues helping veterans find more permanent housing.
More than half of the veterans housed via the program have problems like chronic illness or substance abuse, according to Politico.
Shulkin issued a statement to Politico Wednesday saying he would get input from local VA leaders "on how best to target our funding to the geographical areas that need it the most."
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who serves on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, told Politico that the decision was a "new low" for the Trump administration.