Summary: S.287 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (11/06/2013)

Helping Homeless Veterans Act of 2013 - (Sec. 2) Includes as a homeless veteran, for purposes of eligibility for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a veteran or veteran's family fleeing domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or other dangerous or life-threatening conditions in the current housing situation, including where the health and safety of children are jeopardized, there is no other residence, and there is a lack of resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing.

(Sec. 3) Requires public or private nonprofit entities that receive grants under the VA comprehensive service programs for homeless veterans to agree to meet the physical privacy, safety, and security needs of such veterans.

(Sec. 4) Increases the per diem payment for transitional housing assistance for homeless veterans who are placed in housing that will become permanent upon the termination of such assistance to a maximum of 150% of the per diem rate authorized for veterans receiving domiciliary care in state homes.

(Sec. 5) Allows services for which a homeless veteran receives a grant under the comprehensive service programs to include furnishing care for a dependent.

(Sec. 6) Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to: (1) assess and measure the capacity of programs for which entities receive grants or per diem payments to assist homeless veterans, and (2) use such information to ensure that such programs effectively serve the needs of such veterans. Requires the Secretary to report to the congressional veterans committees on such assessment.

(Sec. 7) Revises VA authority to provide dental care to veterans receiving certain other assistance through the VA to include those veterans: (1) receiving supportive housing assistance under the United States Housing Act of 1937 for at least 60 consecutive days, or (2) residing in non-VA transitional housing for at least 60 days from which the veteran cannot reasonably access comparable dental services at no cost.

(Sec. 8) Authorizes the Secretary (until December 31, 2016) to enter into partnerships with public or private entities to fund a portion of general legal services provided to homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness. Requires the partnerships to be equitably distributed across the United States and to include rural communities, tribal lands and organizations, and Native Americans. Allows the Secretary to require such partnerships to submit periodic reports to the Secretary on the legal services provided.

(Sec. 9) Directs the Secretary to periodically request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Prisons, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and other appropriate federal law enforcement agencies data useful for the evaluation and improvement of the services provided to veterans at risk of homelessness.

(Sec. 10) Extends through FY2017 the authority of the Secretary and the Secretary of Labor to carry out a program of referral and counseling for veterans who are at risk of homelessness and are transitioning from certain institutions, including penal institutions. Repeals the requirement that such program be carried out in least 12 locations.

(Sec. 11) Repeals a required annual report from the Secretary to the veterans committees on VA activities under homeless veterans assistance programs.

(Sec. 12) Extends various VA authorities and programs affecting such veterans, including: (1) treatment and rehabilitation for seriously mentally ill and homeless veterans, housing assistance for homeless veterans, and the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans through 2014; and (2) supportive services for very low-income veteran families residing in permanent housing through FY2014.

(Sec. 13) Extends from November 30, 2016, through August 31, 2017, the requirement of a reduced pension ($90 per month) for veterans (with neither spouse nor child) or surviving spouses (with no child) covered by Medicaid plans under title XIX of the Social Security Act for services furnished by nursing facilities.