SEATTLE, WA – Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) recently joined U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough, Dr. Thomas Bundt, Executive Director of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, and regional stakeholders for a roundtable discussion focused on efforts to assist and house homeless veterans in Washington state on Friday, March 17. During the roundtable, Larsen highlighted the unique challenges facing local veterans and their families, as well as the ongoing efforts by agencies and organizations to serve veterans in Northwest Washington.
“I am focused on breaking down barriers to assist and house veterans experiencing homelessness and address other challenges veterans and their families face in the Pacific Northwest,” said Larsen. “I will continue to work with Secretary McDonough, the VA, veterans stakeholders and local leaders to support Northwest Washington veterans and their families by working to fill vacant caseworker positions, funding community-based outpatient clinics like those in Everett and Mount Vernon, relieving travel burdens for rural veterans, and delivering the critical services women and men who served in uniform have earned.”
Thank you to @SecVetAffairs Denis McDonough for coming to the Pacific Northwest this week to discuss the challenges our region faces to house & support veterans experiencing homelessness, including vacant caseworker positions, travel burdens for rural vets & rising costs. pic.twitter.com/1GjaVmsx1Q
— Rep. Rick Larsen (@RepRickLarsen) March 17, 2023
Larsen’s Work to Support Northwest Washington Veterans
Larsen is focused on breaking down barriers and creating opportunities so all veterans and their families can fully participate in the economy and democracy. Recent actions include:
- Increasing Funding for Veteran Housing Initiative: Last year, Larsen supported the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus spending bill, which invested more than $557 million in the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) initiative to hire more caseworkers and serve more veterans nationwide. HUD-VASH has helped more than 420 veterans in the Second District find housing and access case management and clinical services.
- Helping Rural Veterans Travel to Medical Appointments: Last Congress, Larsen reintroduced the bipartisan Rural Veterans Travel Enhancement Actto make it easier and safer for veterans to keep their medical appointments and access quality health care, regardless of where they live.
- Expanding Care and Benefits for Toxic-Exposed Veterans: Last year, Larsen supported the Honoring Our PACT Act, bipartisan legislation to treat toxic exposure as a cost of war by addressing the full range of issues impacting veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances, including access to earned benefits and health care through the VA.
- Enabling Wounded Veterans to Start a Family: Last Congress, Larsen reintroduced the Veteran Families Health Services Act, comprehensive legislation that would, among other things, ensure servicemembers’ and veterans’ fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), and counseling are included as part of the veteran health benefits.
- Improving VA Phone Call Wait Times: After hearing from a number of local veterans about issues concerning long wait times with the VA’s telephone system, Larsen introduced language in a recent spending package that would have invested $10 million to support the development of a new Veteran Health Administration telephone system that includes a callback feature. This system would allow veterans to receive a callback when they are up on the hold list to schedule an appointment. The amendment was not included in the final Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus spending package.
Veterans in Need of Assistance Should Contact Larsen’s District Office
Washington’s Second Congressional District is home to nearly 51,000 veterans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Veterans and servicemembers and their families who need assistance with issues concerning the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense or other federal agencies are encouraged to call Larsen’s Everett office at 425-252-3188 or contact his office at larsen.house.gov/contact.
SOURCE: Office of Congressman Rick Larsen