Congresswoman Kuster’s Work for Veterans Praised in New Television Ad
In her second television ad of the 2016 cycle, a Nashua veteran praises Congresswoman Kuster’s work to secure affordable housing and jobs for homeless veterans in New Hampshire.
In the ad, titled “Thank You,” John Elsten discusses his military experience and his living situation during his unemployment. A Vietnam veteran, he was forced to sleep under bridges and in alleys in downtown Nashua after losing his job. He was able to secure housing through the VA Supported Housing program, a rental assistance voucher program through the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, that Congresswoman Kuster has worked to expand. While touring a shelter in Nashua, Congresswoman Kuster met John, who was living and volunteering at the shelter. She has made expanding affordable housing for homeless veterans in Nashua, Keene, Plymouth, and throughout New Hampshire a key part of her work to support Granite State veterans.
“I was heartbroken when I heard about John’s struggle, as well as the struggles of so many veterans like him, to find affordable housing and employment,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I fight every day to help veterans like John who have given so much to our country. We have a solemn responsibility to support the brave men and women who have served our country, and that includes ensuring they have a roof over their head, as well as gainful employment and accessible health care.”
Addressing the problem of veteran homelessness is no small task. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that nearly 40,000 are homeless on any given night. Specifically in New Hampshire, HUD estimates that there are between 123-138 homeless vets, many who are forced to live in temporary shelters.
Part of ending homelessness for our veterans in providing them with sustainable employment after they return. As the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans notes, “military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment. NCHV strongly believes that all programs to assist homeless veterans must focus on helping them obtain and sustain employment.”
About 1.4 million other veterans “are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing,” NCHV added.
In January of 2016, Kuster met with student veterans and higher education administrators from across New Hampshire to discuss the importance of supporting veterans as they pursue higher education following the completion of their service. This discussion allowed Congresswoman Kuster to learn more about the work being done by New Hampshire colleges to implement education benefits, as well as to hear directly from student veterans about how she can best support them through her work in Congress.
“When our brave men and women return from their service in the Armed Forces, we must ensure that they have access to the tools they need to complete their education and to compete in today’s workforce,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “During today’s conversation, we were able to bring together student veterans and representatives from some of the Granite State’s top institutions of higher education to discuss how we can help returning veterans pursue their college education here in New Hampshire. We are lucky to have such a dedicated group of higher education leaders here in the Granite State who have done an incredible job supporting veterans seeking college degrees.”
As a member of the U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Kuster has long worked to ensure that veterans have access to the resources necessary to support their transition back into civilian life and to pursue higher education after completing their service. Kuster has supported legislation for student veterans throughout her time in office, including the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013, which proposed allowing veterans to pay in-state tuition for out-of-state schools. This legislation passed the House of Representatives, and its provisions were later passed into law as part of another bill.
In February, Kuster was pleased to announce that three bills she cosponsored had passed in the House of Representatives.
- H.R. 2360, the Career Ready Student Veterans Act, will help ensure that educational and training programs serving our nation’s veterans meet state accreditation standards, protecting the quality of education provided for veteran students.
- H.R. 2915, the Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act, will direct the VA to identify suicide prevention programs that are proven to be most effective for female veterans in order to ensure the unique needs of women veterans are more effectively addressed.
- H.R. 3036, the National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center Act, will designate the September 11th Memorial at the World Trade Center as a national memorial, thereby awarding a grant of up to $25 million per fiscal year for the maintenance of the site.
To some politicians, taking care of our veterans is nothing more than lip service. They say they support veterans while they made deep cuts to social programs that help thousands of veterans avoid homelessness and help keep them from falling into poverty.
Congresswoman Kuster does not just talk about supporting veterans; she is fighting to ensure that we end veteran homelessness and provide the best opportunities for our veterans throughout their entire lives.