Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs said it will not end a $460 million program to provide assistance to homeless veterans after facing criticism for the plan.
VA Secretary David Shulkin said Wednesday "there will be absolutely no change in the funding to support our homeless programs."
Politico reported Wednesday the department planned to kill the program and shift the money to local VA hospitals, which would then decide how to use it.
Shulkin's staff told homeless veterans advocates about the decision in a Dec. 1 phone call. One source told Politico that the decision surprised VA employees, who had no input in it.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a member of the veterans' affairs subcommittee, said the move was a "new low" and "especially callous and perplexing."
Shulkin said "we will not be shifting any homeless program money to the Choice program."
"Over the next six months, I will solicit input from our local VA leaders and external stakeholders on how best to target our funding to the geographical areas that need it most," he added.
"Based on that input we will come forward with proposals for fiscal year 2019 on how to improve the targeting of our homeless program funding."