WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet, Mike Crapo, and James Risch, reintroduced the Helping Unleash Benefits and Services (HUBS) for Veterans Act, bipartisan legislation to support local “network hubs” which streamline access to essential resources for veterans, service members, and their families.
“Veterans and returning service members are forced to navigate a complicated government bureaucracy; the departments don’t talk to each other and most are mired in red tape. Our bill brings veterans services together in one place, making health care access, education benefits, job recruitment, and financial assistance simpler and quicker to access,” said Hickenlooper.
“Colorado has some of the best resources to support returning service members, veterans, and their families, but navigating between agencies and organizations can be frustrating and time-consuming,” said Bennet. “We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude, and we need to do everything we can to help them access the care and benefits they have earned. This legislation follows the example of communities across Colorado to centralize resources and help veterans and their families find support.”
“Veterans are often bombarded with information and resources as they transition to the civilian world,” said Risch. “The HUBS for Veterans Act would ensure these resources are simplified and veterans receive the assistance and support they earned.”
“Many community-based organizations in Idaho provide needed long-term, holistic support and assistance for our veterans,” said Crapo. “Ensuring veterans have access to a variety of wraparound services through a central location of information will greatly reduce the overwhelming burden of navigating multiple streams of information.”
“Here at the Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center in Colorado Springs, we continue to see tremendous results in the ability of military members in transition to quickly attain job stability and self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. Transition success happens when a variety of community programs and services are integrated at one location minimizing stress and maximizing access to critical support services. This model continues to be an effective way for a community to support servicemembers after duty to our nation is complete. Public private partnerships are the cornerstone of this success,” said Bob McLaughlin, Executive Director for Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center.
“The Veterans of Foreign Wars Colorado appreciates the hard work on this bipartisan legislation and values the effort and including Veteran Service Organizations. Veteran Service organizations help hundreds of military members daily during transition from military to civilian life, we assist in filing for disability compensation, rehabilitation and education programs, pension and death benefits, and employment and training programs,” said Steve Kjonaas, Colorado Legislative Director, Veterans of Foreign Wars.“The HUBS Act will provide even more capacity to accomplish additional transition assistance. By the increased capability, veterans who took great sacrifice defending our country and many times have been injured and or developed diseases will have the help to become the person they aspired to become after military service.”
The HUBS for Veterans Act would authorize a five-year pilot program to provide matching grant funds to non-profit organizations that offer access to multiple wraparound services from one source, or “network hubs.” The bill directs the Department of Labor (DOL), in consultation with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to prioritize network hubs that provide job recruitment training, educational support services, financial services, entrepreneurship training, behavioral health services, and assistance in accessing benefits administered by the VA.
The bill would also ensure that service members receive information through the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) about network hubs located in the community in which they will reside once they become a civilian. TAP is an interagency collaboration between the Department of Defense, DOL, and VA that provides information to service members and their families to help them transition from military service to civilian life.
The text of the bill is available HERE.