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Homeless vets could get housing support through proposed omnibus bill

Minnesota's 150 homeless veterans who do not qualify for assistance through a federal program because of their discharge status could receive state housing vouchers and wraparound services.

That is one of dozens of proposals in the omnibus veterans and military affairs finance and policy bill.

On Wednesday, the House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee discussed a delete-all amendment to HF752, sponsored by Rep. Rob Ecklund (DFL-International Falls). It plans to act on the bill Friday.

The companion, SF722, is sponsored by Sen. Andrew Lang (R-Olivia) and awaits action by the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee.

The bill would increase the Department of Military Affairs' budget from $48.4 million this biennium to $49 million next biennium and the Department of Veterans Affairs' budget from $151.9 million to $168.5 million.

The proposed increase to the VA’s budget includes $6.3 million for the veteran homelessness initiative, which aims to ensure that no Minnesota veteran is living on the street.

As of September 2020, there were 283 veterans experiencing homelessness in Minnesota, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs' budget book.

The bill would also allocate $500,000 to the Advisory Task Force on 9/11 and Global War on Terrorism Remembrance to publish a history of the war, develop a traveling exhibition to share stories and host a remembrance program on Sept. 11, 2021.

In addition, it would increase veteran health care funding by 8% and would appropriate $1.65 million for an initiative to prevent veteran suicide. More than 100 Minnesota veterans die by suicide each year.

On the policy side, the bill would allow the VA to hire a publicity representative. It would also outline a timeline for the appointment of the Minnesota National Guard's senior leader, the adjutant general, when the position is open.

Other notable provisions would:

  • allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a veteran stable-housing initiative that would provide resources and support to assist veterans experiencing homelessness;
  • correct ambiguities in, and clarify eligibility for, benefits under the Minnesota GI bill;
  • explicitly authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to operate adult day care programs for veterans; and
  • create an alternative-sentencing option for veterans with service-connected trauma,substance abuse or mental health conditions who commit certain crimes.


The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus veterans and military affairs finance and policy bill:


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