WASHINGTON, DC— Today, the House of Representatives passed Congressman Jim Himes’ (CT-04) bill, HR 3634, the Securing Electronic Records for Veteran’s Ease, or SERVE, Act.
The SERVE Act would make it easier for veterans to secure housing by requiring the Department of Veteran Affairs make documentation of Post 9/11 GI Bill monthly housing stipend accessible and available online. Student veterans will use this documentation to provide needed verification to housing agents, leasing companies, apartment managers, and landlords.
“Veterans and their families face real challenges when they transition to civilian life. We have an important responsibility to do what we can to help. Finding housing – a roof over their heads – should not be an ordeal, especially if it is caused by difficulties in showing the stipend that veterans get from Uncle Sam,” Himes said.
The issue was brought to Himes attention through conversations with student veterans throughout Southwest Connecticut. Nicholas Quinzi, a Marine and founder of the Student Veterans Club at Sacred Heart University, expressed that his top priority would be fixing the lack of verification for the monthly housing stipend.
“The fact that Nicholas, and close to 1.1 million student veterans like him, has no proof of income that a property management firm or prospective landlord could consider, when weighing credit worthiness and income qualifications, is an unnecessary burden.”
Earlier this fall, the bill moved smoothly through the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and was brought to the floor of the House today for a vote with a package of other veterans-related bills.
“This is exactly how the American people expect and deserve Congress to work,” said Himes. “We heard concerns from our constituents, developed a solution, and approached it in a bipartisan way. Going through that process results in a positive outcome for everyone involved. I would like to thank Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Poe of Tennessee, and Ranking Member Walz of Minnesota for their role in bringing this bill to the floor and their work on behalf of our nation’s veterans”