Rep. Gruszynski: 608-266-0616
Sen. Hansen: 608-266-5670
MADISON – In an effort to protect student veterans across the state of Wisconsin, Rep. Staush Gruszynski (D-Green Bay), Rep. Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin), and Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) authored LRB-2606/1, The Student Veteran Renter Protection Act.
This bipartisan legislation was written in response to the Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) failure to properly administer payment of housing allowances to student veterans receiving benefits through the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program. This administrative error by the VA delayed payments to as many as 180,000 student veterans nationwide in late 2018, placing veterans’ housing in jeopardy at no fault of their own.
“This bill will protect student veterans from late fees or eviction in future cases where VA housing allowances are delayed or incorrect. A UW-Green Bay student veteran described the stress his family experienced after discovering that his benefits were delayed for an indeterminate amount of time. Balancing coursework, jobs, and familial obligations is enough of a challenge without the added stress of receiving a five-day eviction notice and being forced to pull together hundreds of dollars for rent within a few days to avoid homelessness. I was pleased to see broad, bi-partisan co-sponsorship in both houses of the Legislature over recent weeks, and I sincerely hope that we pass this common sense bill this session.” Gruszynski said.
Under current law, a landlord may give a tenant who is late in paying rent a notice to vacate within at least five days. Under this bill, student veterans who receive housing allowances from the VA and who notify their landlord that they are receiving housing allowances would be given a 30 day grace period if they show documentation that their allowance has been delayed and the tenant pays the rent within 30 days after the notice from the landlord is received. As of 2018, there were a total of 388 student veterans enrolled at UW-Green Bay and 4,769 throughout the entire UW System.
“There is no excuse for these veterans being treated this way by their own government,” said Hansen who serves on the Senate Committee on Transportation, Veterans and Military Affairs. “It’s unfortunate that we need to pass a bill like this to make sure no veterans are forced out of their homes because the federal government can’t get its act together and get them the benefits they’ve earned on time. Given the bi-partisan support for our bill I’m hoping we can get it passed when the Legislature convenes in the Fall.”