The Veterans Affairs Department is seeking to amend a current federal regulation (PDF) that requires homeless veterans be diagnosed with a serious mental illness to qualify for the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program.
The program pays community-based organizations to provide housing, outreach, case management and rehabilitative services for former servicemen and women. Approximately 220 not-for-profit entities had participated in the program as of November 2013.
The policy change was first outlined in the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. The specific concern was that the policy requires the VA to conduct a clinical assessment to verify that a homeless veteran has a serious mental illness before it can provide care and services through the HCHV program. The requirement was put in place to ensure that the VA only provided services to veterans who were both homeless and who had a serious mental illness.