*** Jim Costa has been endorsed for CD-16 by the CDP ***
Our servicemen, servicewomen, veterans, and their families sacrifice so much to keep us safe and protect our way of life. As we head into Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to share some of the work I have been doing for our veterans, both in the San Joaquin Valley and in Washington, D.C.
Improving Veterans Services in Rural Communities
Twenty-five percent of our nation’s veterans live in rural communities, which means they often face different challenges than veterans living in more urban areas. We in the Blue Dog Coalition recognize this, which is why our Task Force on Rural America held a hearing earlier this month to discuss how we can better serve our veterans in rural America. For the hearing, we had representatives from the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) speak to the difficulties unique to veterans in rural areas, including access to quality health care and services supporting servicemembers’ transition to civilian life. The hearing was an important first step in an ongoing collaboration to ensure our veterans and their families get the benefits and justice they have earned, regardless of where they live.
Rep. Costa at Blue Dog Rural America Task Force Hearing on Veterans Issues
Reducing Veterans Homelessness
For decades, I have been working to ensure that all of our veterans have a roof over their heads and access to the services they need. This requires us working together to address the complex causes of veterans homelessness as well as the more immediate issue of providing housing for veterans and their families. On May 11th, I was proud to see our hard work pay off when we opened the Renaissance at Parc Grove facility in Fresno. This is a 40-unit development of one and two-bedroom apartments designed specifically to serve our homeless and disabled San Joaquin Valley veterans.
Additionally, I have been working with my colleagues in Congress to fix problems in current laws that unintentionally make it more difficult for veterans to secure housing for themselves and their families. Last week, I signed on as a cosponsor to H.R. 4099, a bipartisan bill that aims to ensure that homeless veterans with children are given the support necessary to secure shelter. Currently, homeless shelters are given federal funds for housing homeless veterans, but they are not given funds for also housing the veterans’ children. This leads to veterans with children having a more difficult time finding shelter than they otherwise would. H.R. 4099 adjusts the calculation to take into account the veterans’ children, which helps to ensure that our veterans with children are given a fair chance at securing shelter for themselves and their families.
Rep. Costa at ribbon-cutting for Renaissance at Parc Grove Veterans Home
Honoring Valley Veterans: 16th Central Valley Honor Flight
Since 2005, the Central Valley Honor Flight Program has sent 16 groups of veterans to Washington, D.C. Each honor flight entails veterans from all over the Central Valley going to Washington to explore the Capitol and visit museums and memorials. It has been an honor year after year to meet with and support those who have defended our freedom during their honor flight. The Honor Flight is much more than a trip to Washington, D.C., it is a homecoming that every veteran deserves. From the greatest generation who served in World War II, to those who served in Korea, Vietnam, and the Iraq war, every veteran deserves to be welcomed, honored, and thanked in our nation’s capital for their sacrifices.
Rep. Costa with Central Valley Honor Flight Veterans
Commemorating Memorial Day
On Memorial Day every year, we come together as a nation to remember and honor the brave men and women who lost their lives serving in our military. We owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to these heroes and their families who so selflessly answered the call of duty. Because they did, we are who we are today: a free and prosperous nation. As a grateful nation, we can never say thank you enough. I invite everyone in our Valley and across our country to join me in commemorating Memorial Day.
Click here for Rep. Costa’s Memorial Day Message:
Rep. Costa Memorial Day Message
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter update. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any federal issues of your concern. To stay up-to-date on the work I am doing in Congress, please visit my website at costa.house.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter here. You can also follow my work and events in our Valley on my Facebook page and twitter account.
Member of Congress