S 935

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 935

To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a program of outreach for veterans, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 10, 2011

Mr. BROWN of Ohio introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


A BILL

To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a program of outreach for veterans, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Veterans Outreach Enhancement Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. PROGRAM OF OUTREACH TO VETERANS.

    (a) Program Required- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish a program of outreach to veterans for the purpose described in subsection (b).

    (b) Purpose- The purpose described in this subsection is to increase the following:

      (1) The access and use by veterans of Federal, State, and local programs providing compensation and other benefits for service in the Armed Forces.

      (2) Awareness of such programs by veterans and their eligibility for such programs.

    (c) Duration- The program required by subsection (a) shall be carried out during the five-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

    (d) Agreements To Carry Out Projects and Activities-

      (1) AGREEMENTS WITH FEDERAL AND STATE AGENCIES- In carrying out the program required by subsection (a), the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may enter into agreements with other Federal and State agencies to carry out projects under the jurisdiction of such agencies to further the purpose described in subsection (b).

      (2) AGREEMENTS WITH APPLICABLE AUTHORITIES AND COMMISSIONS- In carrying out the program required by subsection (a), the Secretary may enter into agreements with applicable authorities and commissions to provide technical assistance, award grants, enter into contracts, or otherwise provide amounts to persons or entities for projects and activities that--

        (A) increase outreach to, awareness by, and use by veterans of programs described in subsection (b)(1);

        (B) provide incentives for State and local governments and veterans service organizations to assist veterans in utilizing facilities and resources available to veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs;

        (C) provide incentives for State and local governments and veterans service organizations to assist veterans in utilizing resources available through government and veterans service organizations for veterans;

        (D) educate communities and State and local governments about the employment rights of veterans, including the employment and reemployment of members of the uniformed services under chapter 43 of title 38, United States Code;

        (E) provide technical assistance to businesses owned by veterans; and

        (F) encourage and assist nonprofit organizations, businesses, and institutions of higher education to carry out programs of assistance designed for veterans.

      (3) APPLICABLE AUTHORITIES AND COMMISSIONS- For purposes of the program required by subsection (a), the applicable authorities and commissions are the following:

        (A) The Appalachian Regional Commission, established under section 14301(a) of title 40, United States Code.

        (B) The Delta Regional Authority, established under section 382B(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 2009aa-1(a)).

        (C) The Denali Commission, established under section 303 of the Denali Commission Act of 1998 (42 U.S.C. 3121 note).

        (D) The Northern Great Plains Regional Authority, established under section 383B(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 2009bb-1(a)).

        (E) The Southeast Crescent Regional Commission, the Southwest Border Regional Commission, and the Northern Border Regional Commission established under section 15301(a) of title 40, United States Code.

        (F) Entities described in subparagraph (G) that serve Native Americans, Alaska Natives, or native Hawaiians (as such terms are defined in section 3765 of title 38, United States Code).

        (G) Commissions and development boards that are--

          (i) not chartered by the Federal Government;

          (ii) selected by the Secretary for purposes of the program; and

          (iii) located in areas that present extraordinary challenges to veterans, as determined by the Secretary, including the following:

            (I) Areas in severe economic distress.

            (II) Areas with underdeveloped infrastructure.

            (III) Areas with unusual geographic characteristics, such as separation from the mainland.

    (e) Information, Advice, and Technical Assistance- In carrying out the program required by subsection (a), the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may provide, or contract with public or private organizations to provide, information, advice, and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations that provide services to communities in order to increase the number of veterans receiving such services.

    (f) Coordination With Previously Authorized Pilot Program on Use of Community-Based Organizations and Local and State Government Entities for Outreach- The Secretary may carry out the program required by subsection (a) in coordination with the pilot program required by section 506(a) of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-163; 124 Stat. 1160; 38 U.S.C. 523 note).

    (g) Report on Outreach Activities of Department of Veterans Affairs-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Not later than four years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a comprehensive report on the activities of the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding outreach to veterans.

      (2) ELEMENTS- The report required by paragraph (1) shall include the following:

        (A) A description of all of the activities of the Department regarding outreach to veterans carried out since the date of the enactment of this Act, including the activities of the Department carried out under the program required by subsection (a).

        (B) An assessment of the effectiveness of the activities described in subparagraph (A).

    (h) Veterans Service Organization Defined- In this section, the term `veterans service organization' means any organization recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the representation of veterans under section 5902 of title 38, United States Code.

    (i) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out the program required by subsection (a)--

      (1) $7,000,000 for fiscal year 2011; and

      (2) $35,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2012 through 2016.

END