FACT CHECK: Does The US Government Spend Zero Dollars On Homeless Veterans?
A viral Facebook post shared over 1,400 times claims the U.S. government spends zero dollars on homeless veterans, in comparison to $86 million to house unauthorized immigrants in hotels.
The U.S. government provides significant funding to help homeless veterans through Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs and other federal programs. The American Rescue Plan also allocates money for housing and resources for homeless veterans.
DHS officials confirmed to Axios this month that an $86 million contract has been awarded to temporarily house migrant families in hotel rooms.
Now, a viral Facebook post is claiming the U.S. government spends zero dollars on homeless veterans, in an attempt to draw a comparison to that $86 million contract. On a single night in January 2020, over 37,000 veterans experienced homelessness in the U.S., according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.
The Facebook post’s claim about the federal government’s spending to help homeless veterans is inaccurate. (RELATED: Did Ben Carson Call Homelessness ‘A Gift From Heaven’?)
The VA said in a press release that the American Rescue Plan provided $750 million for construction grants and payments to State Veteran Homes, which, according to the VA website, are state-owned and -operated facilities that “provide nursing home, domiciliary or adult day care” to homeless and disabled veterans. The American Rescue Plan also allocated $14.5 billion to the VA for “COVID-19 related health care,” including “resources for Veterans currently receiving housing support and an estimated 37,000 homeless Veterans,” according to the VA press release.
The VA’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2021 requested over $1.8 billion toward homeless veterans programs. Congress approved the VA’s final budget for fiscal year 2021 in December, with about $1.9 billion allocated for homeless veterans projects, according to the Military Times.
There are also federal programs outside the VA that aim to help homeless veterans. The Department of Labor received $55 million in fiscal year 2020 for its Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, which aims to help homeless veterans find jobs, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Executives at the nonprofit National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and the advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America refuted a claim similar to that in the Facebook post, according to CNN.
The Facebook post’s claim may have stemmed from a March 21 tweet from Republican North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s campaign Twitter account. CNN reported that a “source close to Cawthorn who spoke on the condition of anonymity” said Cawthorn’s tweet was actually alleging zero dollars of the $86 million contract to house migrant families went to helping homeless veterans, not U.S. spending overall.