S. 1944 would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to carry out a program to provide grants to entities that address food insecurity among veterans and their family members. The department would be required to begin the program within 18 months of enactment and provide grants for three years after it begins the program. The bill would authorize appropriations of $15 million for each fiscal year that the program operates. CBO expects that each year of the program would span more than one fiscal year; thus, we estimate the bill would authorize appropriations of $60 million for the grant program over four fiscal years. Eligible grant recipients include nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, public agencies, or institutions of higher education. The grants would be used to support partnerships among entities that address food insecurity among veterans and their families and to increase participation in nutrition counseling programs and federal food assistance programs. CBO estimates that implementing the program would cost $58 million over the 2022-2027 period; such spending would be subject to appropriation of the specified amounts.
The bill also would require several actions regarding Vet Centers, which are VA facilities that provide social and psychological services to veterans, military service members, and their families. It would require VA to:
Collect feedback from Vet Center employees on their productivity expectations;
Develop, implement, and regularly update a staffing model for those facilities; and
Standardize roles and expectations for staff positions at those centers.