As the mother of an Air Force veteran, I am grateful for the many sacrifices our servicemen and women have made. Our veterans were willing to put their lives on the line to protect the liberties that we hold dear, and it is our responsibility to ensure they return home to a nation that provides opportunities for them and their families. This includes ensuring they have an affordable place to live, educational and employment opportunities, and quality health care.
Veterans are twice as likely as other Americans to become homeless. I have been proud to promote initiatives in Congress that identify our homeless veteran population, provide transition services that help achieve residential stability, and address the availability of housing. This includes increasing the availability and use of project-based rental assistance, which is proven to reduce move-in wait-times.
The long wait-times that have plagued the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) are simply unacceptable. While necessary reforms are implemented, we must also make sure the VA has the resources needed to serve the growing number of aging Vietnam era veterans and the influx of veterans who recently served in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must expand alternative avenues of accessing care, such as telehealth services and private care when necessary, to aid the 74 percent of veterans who live in rural and underserved areas.
Our veterans suffer from homelessness and disabilities at levels greater than the civilian population. In order to ensure our local veterans and their loved ones are aware of and able to quickly access the many resources available to them, I hosted a Veterans Resource Fair where Veterans had the opportunity to speak with representatives from the VA, local utilities, and other organizations to receive help. Attendees were also able to sit down and meet one-on-one with service officers from the VA to receive help on their pending claims. I plan to sponsor similar events in the future and as always, my staff and I are available to assist with issues local veterans may be experiencing with the VA and other federal agencies.
Como madre de un veterano de la Fuerza Aérea, estoy agradecida por los muchos sacrificios que han hecho nuestros hombres y mujeres de las fuerzas armadas. Nuestros veteranos estaban dispuestos a arriesgar sus vidas para proteger las libertades que apreciamos, y es nuestra responsabilidad asegurarnos de que regresen a casa en una nación que les brinde oportunidades a ellos y a sus familias. Esto incluye asegurarse de que tengan un lugar asequible para vivir, oportunidades educativas y laborales, y atención médica de calidad.
Los veteranos tienen el doble de probabilidades que otros estadounidenses de quedarse sin hogar. Me enorgullece promover iniciativas en el Congreso que identifican a nuestra población de veteranos sin hogar, brindan servicios de transición que ayudan a lograr la estabilidad residencial y abordan la disponibilidad de viviendas. Esto incluye aumentar la disponibilidad y el uso de la asistencia de renta basada en proyectos que ha demostrado reducir los tiempos de espera para la mudanza.
Los largos tiempos de espera que han afectado a la Administración de Salud de los Veteranos (VHA) son simplemente inaceptables. Mientras se implementan las reformas necesarias, también debemos asegurarnos de que él VA tenga los recursos necesarios para atender al creciente número de veteranos de la era de Vietnam que envejecen y el número de veteranos que sirvieron recientemente en Irak y Afganistán. Debemos ampliar las vías alternativas de acceso a la atención, como los servicios de telesalud y la atención privada cuando sea necesario, para ayudar al 74 por ciento de los veteranos que viven en áreas rurales y desatendidas.
Nuestros veteranos sufren de falta de vivienda y discapacidades a niveles superiores a la población civil. Para asegurar que nuestros veteranos locales y sus seres queridos conozcan y puedan acceder rápidamente a los muchos recursos disponibles para ellos, organicé una Feria de Recursos para Veteranos donde los Veteranos tuvieron la oportunidad de hablar con representantes de VA, servicios públicos locales y otras organizaciones para recibir ayuda. Los asistentes también pudieron sentarse y reunirse personalmente con los oficiales de servicio del VA para recibir ayuda con sus reclamos pendientes. Tengo planeado patrocinar eventos similares en el futuro y como siempre, mi personal y yo estamos disponibles para ayudar con los problemas que los veteranos locales puedan estar teniendo con él VA y otras agencias federales.
More on Veterans
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35) today celebrated as her bill, the G.I Veterans Education Empowerment Act (GIVE Act) was signed into law by President Biden as part of a larger legislative package called the Training in High-Demand Roles to Improve Veteran Employment Act (THRIVE Act).
Torres’ bill adds new categories and information to the G.I. Comparison Tool, an online resource designed to help service members make decisions about their G.I. benefits and explore education opportunities.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35) today passed the G.I. & Veteran Education Empowerment Act – or GIVE Act – (H.R. 4852) out of the House of Representatives by a vote of 412 to 0.
Torres’ bill expands the G.I. Comparison Tool – an online resource intended to provide service members with the information they need to find a school that’s right for them. The GIVE Act adds the option for veterans to search for Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges, religious-affiliated schools, and gender-specific institutions.
ONTARIO, CA – U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) recently launched a Veteran Identification Card (VIC) Assistance Program. The VIC allows veterans to access discounts at many restaurants, hotels, stores, and other businesses across the nation without having to carry sensitive documents to prove their veteran status. During the 30-minute appointments, Torres’ staff outline the required documents, eligibility requirements, and the application process.
It took months for Debra Cummings’ disability benefits to kick in.
But when the check arrived, it wasn’t for the full amount. So the 58-year-old Redlands resident made several phone calls to the Social Security Administration. She wasn’t getting anywhere, until an employee threw her a lifeline.
A couple of weeks ago, U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres traveled to several communities in and around the Inland Empire to ensure the needs of local residents are reflected in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) budget. As Chair of the CHC Budget Task Force, Torres has been instrumental in crafting a budget that offers an alternative to the harmful cuts in the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) introduced the GI Bill Distance Learning Improvement Act, in honor of Veterans Day. This legislation looks to assist veterans’ pursuit of higher education following their military service by providing additional resources to support distance learning.
Tijuana, Mexico – Today, Rep. Norma Torres traveled to Mexico to meet with deported U.S. veterans to understand and address the barriers that prevent them from accessing the veterans benefits earned through service to our country. The visit to the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana, Mexico, revealed significant opportunities for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Congress to work together to improve the lives of those who served.
ONTARIO, CA – Today, Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) issued the follow statement in response to recent reports of thousands of California National Guardsmen being required to repay enlistment bonuses that were given a decade ago:
ONTARIO, CA – Today, Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) hosted a Veterans Resource Fair to provide local veterans with information on resources available to them and their families. Veterans also had the opportunity to sit down and meet one-on-one with service officers from the Department of Veterans of Affairs to get help on pending claims.
Join me at my Veterans Resource Fair in Montclair to learn more about the resources available to local veterans and to meet one-on-one with service officers from the VA for help on your claims. This event is free and open to the public, however appointments are required for claims assistance. If you know of any veterans who might benefit from this event, please invite them to attend. Registration begins at 8:30am.