11/29/2012 02:47 pm ET

Clothe A Homeless Hero Act: TSA Would Donate Abandoned Clothing To Homeless Vets Under New House-Backed Bill

Thanks to a new House-approved bill, clothes left behind at security checkpoints could be donated to homeless veterans, according to the Washington Post.

The Clothe a Homeless Hero Act would require the Transportation Security Administration to partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs to donate unclaimed clothes to local veterans organizations and charities, according to a statement made by Rep. Kathy Hochul’s (D-N.Y.) office.

"These are people who put on the uniform to protect our country and to make us safer sleeping at night, the least we can do is give them clothing left behind," Hochul told WROC-TV.

The bill was the congresswoman’s brainchild. She said the idea came to her after she left a scarf behind while going through an airport security screening earlier this year, according to the Washington Post.

Forgetting clothes at airport security is common. The Transportation Security Administration collects from 500 to 1,000 garments a day, Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis (R-Fla.), vice chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee told the Los Angeles Times.

On the streets, the VA says there are an estimated 75,000 veterans that are homeless on a given night and around 20,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have been homeless within the last five years.

The bill’s possible passage would came at an optimal time, Hochul points out in the statement. “As cold weather approaches across much of the country, this legislation will be a greatly needed help for homeless veterans while we work to end homelessness for good,” she said.

This bill isn't the first initiative of its kind. In April 2009, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) filed a bill to donate loose change collected at airport security to the United Service Organizations, according to Since then the bill has been stalled in Congress.

In 2011, the TSA reported that just over $409,000 was left behind at the nation’s airports -- with New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport accumulating the most spare change, reports.



Initiatives For Veterans