In his State of the Union address, President Biden called for increased funding for federal assistance programs as part of a broader effort to prevent senior suicides.
President Biden’s speech, his first before a divided Congress, called for additional financial aid for veterans to pay their rent and provide job training and employment for servicemen and their spouses as they return to civilian life.
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Let’s do more to uphold one of this country’s most sacred responsibilities: providing for the needs of returning service members and their families. Biden said.
According to the president, 17 veterans leave the country every day in a “silent epidemic of suicide.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs is “doing everything it can” to help other veterans understand what they’re going through and get the help they need, according to Biden, including expanding mental health screenings and successful programs that attract veterans.
Because “no one should be homeless in America, especially someone who has served the country,” he also promised to help veterans pay their rent.
Kristen Link Young, deputy assistant to the president for health and veterans affairs, told reporters Tuesday that the administration will provide new funding to states and territories for initiatives aimed at preventing senior suicides through mental health and emergency support services.
In addition to strengthening peer support services, officials will focus on “helping veterans during difficult times that may increase suicide risk by expanding medical-legal partnerships and expanding outreach to justice-involved veterans.”
Additionally, according to Young, Biden is pressing Congress with a fiscal 2024 budget that would include proposals for an undisclosed housing assistance effort.
33,000 American seniors are reported to lack stable housing. From 2020 to early 2022, that number dropped by more than 11%, although government officials have tried to bring it down to zero.
The new programs extend from Biden’s previous year to establish broad new compensation for veterans exposed to harmful substances while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ultimately, that work resulted in legislation being approved this summer, providing these benefits to millions of veterans.
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