U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, on Tuesday introduced the State Veterans Home Homelessness Act.
The bill primarily aims to make state veterans homes, including the facility on Milan Road in Perkins Township, eligible for more federal grants — specifically to secure more beds for the country’s homeless veterans, said Steve Fought, Kaptur’s spokesman.
The proposal could move through Congress on its own merits, or it could become part of a bigger piece of legislation, Fought said. There’s simply no way of knowing when it could become a reality.
“Congress is impossible to predict right now,” Fought said. “But if there’s a chance of bipartisanship on anything, it would be this.”
“Erie County veterans who have served their country in order to protect our freedoms should never face homelessness,” Brown stated in a release.
The press release didn’t indicate exactly what these resources would be, or how they’d be implemented. It’s also unknown exactly how many homeless veterans reside in Erie County.
But consider this:
• About 7,700 veterans live in Erie County, or about 10 percent of the area’s population, according to recent U.S. Census data.
• Close to 200 people are homeless in Erie County, state data shows.
• About 62,600 veterans are homeless across the U.S. on any given night, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
• Almost 13 percent of the adult homeless population are veterans.
• About 1.4 million other veterans are considered at risk of homelessness.
“No veteran in America should be homeless,” Kaptur stated in a release. “Locally and nationally, we must meet our obligation to the veterans.”
The Ohio Veterans Home in Perkins has been in operation since 1888. It boasts 427 beds and offers standard care for veterans with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Representatives from the Ohio Veterans Home didn’t return multiple messages seeking comment.