Vice chairman of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., helped ensure $200 million will be used to help homeless veterans.
The Greek-American congressman has been actively involved in directing resources to end homelessness within the veterans’ community for many years.
With his support he helped to secure $200 million in funding this year which supports 13,000 transitional housing beds within the VA’s Grant and Per Diem program.
This program is designed to help end veteran homelessness by providing shelter and supportive services to improve income levels, increase skill levels and achieve residential stability.
“There is absolutely no reason that even one of our nation’s heroes should experience homelessness after bravely answering the call to serve our country. We owe each of them more than that,” said Congressman Bilirakis.
“The contributing factors that lead to homelessness vary by individual. For some, homelessness is the result of a situational problem, such as the loss of a job, divorce or an emergency incident. They may need a little extra boost, including help with security deposits and utilities. Once stabilized, these individuals are often able to live independently.
“For others, the issue is more complex,” Bilirakis continued.
“There may be mental health, medical and/or substance abuse issues involved, which may take longer to resolve and require greater support in order to ensure that the individual experiences long-term success. As such, the solution lies in providing varied levels of support in order to assist with people’s individual needs. This program offers that. These local agencies have worked to reduce homelessness in our community for many years, and I look forward to them making further progress. I will continue to support programs that aim to end veteran homelessness until we reach our goal of zero homeless vets.”
Bilirakis was first elected to Congress on November 7, 2006, and is currently serving his sixth term in the United States House of Representatives.
As a young boy, Gus learned the importance of public service from his father, Michael Bilirakis, who represented Florida’s Ninth Congressional District from 1983 to 2006. The elder Bilirakis also instilled in his son a pride in the family’s Greek heritage, which Gus proudly carries into his career today.