Newton, Abeler are named to vets housing committee

Rep. Jerry Newton, DFL-Coon Rapids, has been selected by Minnesota House Speaker Paul Thissen to chair the Select Committee on Veterans Housing.

Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, has been named a member of the committee.

State Reps. Jim Abeler (left) and Jerry Newton discuss veterans legislation on the Minnesota House floor. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota House of Representatives Photography

State Reps. Jim Abeler (left) and Jerry Newton discuss veterans legislation on the Minnesota House floor. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota House of Representatives Photography

The committee will be made up of both Republican and Democrats and will research, investigate and report on the current state of housing for Minnesota veterans and ultimately recommend policies to assure safe, high-quality and cost-effective housing options are available for Minnesota veterans.

The committee will suggest legislation which will outline policies to assure safe, high-quality, cost-effective housing for Minnesota veterans, including those veterans with long-term care needs and those who are homeless veterans, according to Newton.

Its final report will look at the cost and effectiveness of current programs; analysis of geographic access to veterans housing; the potential for partnership with the private sector to provide housing; and assessment of federal rules and restrictions that may limit the options available to Minnesota and suggestions to provide more flexibility, Newton said.

In its work to complete this report, the committee will coordinate with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans organizations and federal partners and may include tours of each of Minnesota’s veterans homes, he said.

The committee will issue its report by Feb. 1, 2014.

“We owe our veterans a debt for their service to our nation,” Newton said.

“The least we can do is guarantee that they have a roof over their heads.”

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