VA Secretary David Shulkin hosted a Washington event to brag about Donald Trump’s promise to house all homeless vets.
However, they plan to end a special 460 million dollar program that drastically reduced homelessness among sick and vulnerable veterans.
That money is now going to Veterans Affairs hospitals—who can use it however they want as long as they have some evidence it helped a homeless veteran.
“I don’t understand why you are pulling the rug out,” Elisha Harig-Blaine, a National League of Cities housing official who was on the call, said in an interview afterward. “You’re putting at risk the lives of men and women who’ve served this country.”
“The VA is taking its foot off the pedal,” said Leon Winston, an executive at Swords to Plowshares, a San Francisco organization that helps homeless vets.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a veterans’ affairs subcommittee member, called the decision a “new low” for Trump, and that it was “especially callous and perplexing” considering the new data.
HUD data show there were nearly 40,000 homeless veterans in 2016, and even those with housing still need assistance. The program has reduced the number of displaced servicemembers, serving 138,000 since 2010 and cut the number without housing on a given day by almost half. More than half the veterans housed are chronically ill, mentally ill or have substance abuse problems.
The president promised that he would help Veterans—instead, he’s kicking them to the curb, almost literally.