Congressman Panetta Introduces Legislation to Support Legal Services for Homeless Veterans

July 17, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20) announced the introduction of H.R.3749, the Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act.  The bipartisan legislation directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide grants to organizations that provide legal services to homeless veterans and veterans at risk for homelessness.  Original cosponsors of the bill include fellow veteran members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA-39), Congressman Greg Steube (R-FL-17), Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL-18), Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE-02), and Congressman Mike Waltz (R-FL-06).

"The Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act provides veterans with access to legal services to resolve certain issues that can lead to homelessness.  While serving as a local prosecutor and working as a board member for the Veterans Transition Center of Monterey County, I encountered many veterans who had certain legal issues that brought them to the brink or pushed them into homelessness," said Congressman Panetta.  "This legislation provides those veterans, and supportive and surrounding organizations, the resources necessary to help our veterans resolve these legal issues and get back on their feet so that they can get back to being an integral part of our community and country."

"Too often our homeless vets are denied their basic rights and benefits," said Congressman Cisneros.  "This legislation will enable the VA to partner with non-profits to ensure these veterans will be able to receive legal services that so many of us take for granted.  As a Navy veteran, I am proud to join Congressman Panetta in introducing this commonsense bill that will help homeless vets with their legal challenges."

"The debt we owe to our nation’s servicemembers does not end when their active duty service concludes," said Congressman Steube.  "As a veteran, I’m proud to support the Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act to ensure that our veterans receive the services and care they need."

"The men and women who dedicate their lives to service give everything they have for our country, but the unfortunate reality is that too many veterans struggle returning home from combat and find themselves without a home," Congressman Mast said.  "While we’ll never be able to fully repay them for their service, expanding access to legal services for these veterans is something we can and should do right now to help."

"As an original cosponsor, I’m grateful to support this bipartisan legislation that authorizes the distribution of grants to organizations that provide legal services to homeless veterans and veterans who are at risk of being homeless," said Congressman Bacon.  "As a member of the Armed Services Committee and a retired Brigadier General in the United States Air Force, the Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act is just one of the many steps we need to take to support the many men and women who fought to keep us safe.  It’s only right that we take care of them and keep our veterans safe by allowing them to receive the vital benefits, services, and treatment they rightfully deserve."

Later today, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity will hold a legislative hearing on pending legislation.  The Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act will be considered during the hearing.