The Minnesota Congressional delegation sent a letter Thursday, May 23, to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie highlighting Minnesota's efforts to address veteran homelessness and urging him to examine if the VA could benefit from implementing similar programs at the federal level.

The delegation includes Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Reps. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., Angie Craig, D-Minn., Dean Phillips, D-Minn., Betty McCollum, D-Minn., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Tom Emmer, R-Minn., Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Pete Stauber, R-Minn.

According to a news release, the Minnesota Homeless Veteran Registry was created in 2014 to identify all known homeless veterans in an effort to ensure they have access to appropriate housing and social services. The registry helps to recognize the underlying factors contributing to veteran homelessness, including mental health issues, substance abuse and economic hardship. In the letter, the members asked Wilkie about the VA's efforts to address veteran homelessness and urged him to consider implementing Minnesota's registry program.

"We write regarding the urgent need to address veteran homelessness and to highlight efforts by the state of Minnesota to address this critical issue, which could serve as a model for the rest of the country," a letter signed by the delegation stated. "As we work to continue Minnesota's efforts to ensure that the brave men and women who sacrificed for our country have homes, we respectfully request that you provide us information regarding the Department's efforts to address this critical issue. We also ask that the Department consider Minnesota's progress in decreasing veteran homelessness as it seeks to ensure that every veteran has a home."