The Veterans Administration spurred anger when it announced on a conference call it was pulling money from a successful housing program for veterans and giving the money instead to local VA hospitals if they show they are dealing with homelessness, Politico reported Wednesday.
The announcement came just four days after VA Secretary David Shulkin promised the Trump administration would ensure all homeless veterans found places to live.
The $460 million program has been credited with drastically cutting homelessness among chronically ill vets.
Politico talked to five people who listened to the December 1 call put together by Shulkin's Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans. Veterans' advocates, state officials and Housing and Urban Development officials were critical of the decision, according to the sources. HUD is one of the program's co-sponsors.
"I don’t understand why you are pulling the rug out," Elisha Harig-Blaine of the National League of Cities told Politico. "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," added Leon Winston, of Swords to Plowshares, which helps homeless vets in San Francisco.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington , a member of a veterans' affairs subcommittee, called the move "a new low" for the Trump administration and is "especially callous and perplexing" considering new data showing homelessness among veterans up 1.5 percent — the first increase since 2010.
Shulkin said late Wednesday that overall funding for veteran homelessness would remain intact and he "seemed to suggest he might reverse the decision," Politico reported.
The secretary said he would get local VA leaders' and others' input "on how best to target our funding to the geographical areas that need it most."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.