The Department of Veteran Affairs is hoping a reversal in policy will appease some community groups fighting veteran homelessness.
After conducting legal reviews last year, the VA determined that, beginning in February, it would no longer provide transitional housing funds for military members with less than honorable discharges, according to USA Today. Because those individuals are not eligible for health benefits, the department argued, they are not eligible for housing funds.
"There is something morally wrong here," Phil Landis, president and CEO of Veterans Village of San Diego, told USA Today. He oversees a housing program that was forced to turn away 14 homeless veterans last month after the new policy had gone into effect.
After outcry from Landis and other community groups, the department announced a reversal in its stance, saving thousands of veterans from potentially sleeping on the streets, according to the outlet.
The initial decision to cut funds was surprising to some, as the Obama administration made servicing returning military members a priority five years ago, announcing the goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015. Several initiatives have been implemented to ensure care of those who have served, including plans to open rehabilitation facilities for vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a $14 million pledge from the VA toward military housing projects and services.