The Department of Housing and Urban Development would get a new executive position to handle the housing affairs of homeless veterans if a bill that passed the House on Tuesday advances through the Senate.

The special assistant for veterans affairs would ensure that homeless veterans have fair access to housing and HUD homeless assistance programs. The special assistant would also coordinate with the Department of Veterans Affairs on housing issues.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.), passed 414-5.

There are 67,000 homeless veterans on the streets on a given night, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, which wrote a letter of endorsement in December to members of the House subcommittee that reported the bill.

The number of homeless veterans dropped 12 percent between January 2010 and January 2011, according to HUD figures released in December. HUD estimates 41 percent of homeless veterans live on the streets, in abandoned buildings and vehicles and on park benches.

President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget calls for a 33 percent increase for homeless veterans assistance programs over last year’s budget.

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