Tester Announces $1.15 Million to Support Unhoused Veterans in Montana

Chairman’s legislation removed unnecessary roadblocks in CARES Act funding to provide safe, temporary housing to homeless veterans through the Poverello Center and Fort Peck Housing Authority

U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today announced $1.15 million in federal funding to help end veterans homelessness in Montana.

Tester secured $1 million for the Poverello Center in Missoula and $150,000 for the Fort Peck Housing Authority in Poplar as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These funds will be provided under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Grant Per Diem (GPD) program which expands veterans’ access to safe housing and other supportive services. Barriers to this funding were removed during the pandemic as a result of Tester’s Grant Regulation Adjustment during the Coronavirus Emergency (GRACE) for Homeless Veterans Act of 2020, legislation he locked-in as part of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020.

“Year after year, the Poverello Center and Fort Peck Housing Authority help veterans experiencing homelessness across Montana get back on their feet,” said Chairman Tester. “Their work is especially important now, as veterans and families struggle to find safe housing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will give a much needed boost to the folks working to end homelessness and prioritize the safety of those who’ve served.”

“We are excited for the opportunity to move our veteran transitional housing program from a congregate shelter setting to a setting where veterans have individual spaces to reside. The safety of our veterans in Montana is extremely important to us, especially as we work through the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jill Bonny, Executive Director of the Poverello Center in Missoula Montana. “Thank you to Senator Tester for his continued work which has not only lowered barriers by cutting the red tape for capital grants, but also allowed us to leverage local funding opportunities through the City of Missoula to make sure we can continue to safely serve our most vulnerable veterans.”

Tester is leading the charge in Congress to permanently expand pandemic-relief resources essential to providing critical care and support for unhoused veterans and their families through the VA. He recently introduced his comprehensive Building Solutions for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness Act of 2021 to permanently cut red tape on capital grants provided by VA for organizations assisting veterans experiencing homelessness-extending provisions under the GRACE Act. This bill would also ensure that organizations have the necessary funding to continue supporting veterans and avoid derailing their pre-pandemic progress toward effectively ending veterans homelessness. And it would expand veterans’ access to critical resources, including increased access to transportation, case management services, job training benefits, and improved transitional housing for aging veterans.