Hirono Receives Meritorious Service Award

October 22, 2018, 12:30 PM HST · Updated October 22, 1:07 PM
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The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) recently awarded Sen. Mazie K. Hirono its 2018 Meritorious Services Award. NCHV is an advocacy, resource, and technical assistance center for community-based homeless veteran service providers, which includes Hawaiʻi’s US VETS at Barbers Point. A member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Hirono received the award for her years of work in helping to end veteran homelessness.

“I thank the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans for this special honor and for all they do to ensure veterans have access to necessary resources and a permanent, stable roof over their heads,” Sen. Hirono said. “I look forward to continuing my close partnership with NCHV and organizations like US VETS in Hawaiʻi as we work together toward ending veteran homelessness in our state and across the country.”

NCHV also honored Sen. Hirono in 2016 with its Public Policy Award, which recognizes an elected official for creating or changing policies in an effort to end veteran homelessness. In its award citation, NCHV credited Hirono for reversing a proposed $49 million cut from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Laborʻs Grant and Per Diem program (GDP), which gives grants to community organizations that provide transitional housing and supportive care for homeless veterans. Last year, the GPD program funded over 100 supportive housing beds at US VETS Barbers Point.

Hirono is the first individual to receive both NCHV’s Public Policy and Meritorious Service awards.

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“Sen. Hirono has consistently and staunchly defended VA’s homeless programs when they have come under threat…,” NCHV’s Director of Policy Joshua Stewart said. “She has not only protected these programs, but has also led the way in increasing funding for them. NCHV was proud to award her our 2018 Meritorious Service Award.”

Since 2015, Hirono has led a bipartisan effort with Sen. John Boozman to keep federal veteran homelessness programs that were set to expire on Sept. 30 of this year. Last month, provisions from the Hirono-Boozman Keeping Our Commitment to Ending Veteran Homelessness Act (S. 3419) were enacted as part of the VAʻs Expiring Authorities Act (Public Law 115-251), extending seven VA programs that provide housing, job training, and health care to veterans and their families. The seven extended programs serve about 725 veterans and their families across Hawaiʻi.

“US VETS is pleased to see Sen. Hirono recognized nationally for her tireless advocacy on behalf of Hawaiʻi’s veterans and their families,” US VETS’ Chief Operating Officer Darryl Vincent said. “Her selection to receive the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ Meritorious Service Award is a direct reflection of the culmination of her many years of leadership in defense of crucial federal programs and funding that local providers like US VETS rely on to help reintegrate homeless and at-risk veterans and their families into their communities in Hawaiʻi and across the country. She is very deserving of such an honor.”

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