Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), alongside U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) 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, servicemembers and their families.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
“The Idaho Veterans Chamber of Commerce has modeled the first-ever Network Navigation Services Hub over the last 18 months deeply rooted in the Idaho community,” said Mindi Anderson, Idaho Veterans Chamber of Commerce Founding Executive Director. “The wrap-around navigation service model has proven to be successful as we’ve been able to link not only veterans, military serving, and their families to the resources and tools they need to be successful, but community partners and organizations have access to the collaboration space between both communities to provide the resources, benefits, and opportunities they can offer creating life-changing connections, resulting in unity across all of Idaho. In 2022, we provided navigation services for 137 career seekers, 190 veteran employers, 32 education seekers, trained 67 employers on the DOD SkillBridge program, provided navigation and support to 246 aspiring or current entrepreneurs, provided 593 counseling sessions, and helped business owners to secure almost $1.2 Million dollars in funding through bridging the gaps and connecting the Military Community with the Idaho Community resources. This bill will continue to support not only what we have proven successful, but enable further expansion of collaborative spaces that have begun to be established, built on a strong foundation that will continue to grow and flourish.”
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 U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), in consultation with the U.S. 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 servicemembers 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 U.S. Department of Defense, DOL and VA that provides information to servicemembers and their families to help them transition from military service to civilian life.
The text of the bill is available HERE.