Veterans

15th March
2012
written by Kate Seif

Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs held a hearing called, “Ending Homelessness Among Veterans: VA’s Progress on its 5 Year Plan.”  The hearing examined the progress the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made on its plan to end homelessness among veterans by 2015. Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) took the opportunity to highlight the challenges facing female veterans in particular, who are a growing subpopulation among homeless veterans.

The hearing included testimony from veterans on their own experiences transitioning into civilian life, as well as testimony from VA officials discussing the various challenges and opportunities that are likely to arise as we move forward to end veteran homelessness.

In recent years, veteran homelessness has become a focal point for policymakers in the broader fight to prevent and end homelessness in America. In response, we’ve seen increased resources for homeless veteran programs, increased interagency collaboration and involvement from regional VA offices and VA medical centers, and widespread implementation of proven practices, such as permanent supportive housing supported by the joint Department of Housing and Urban Development –VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers.

As a result, we’ve seen real progress in reducing veteran homelessness!

In February, the President included $1.35 billion in funding for homeless veteran programs in his Budget Proposal for fiscal year 2013 –a remarkable 33 percent increase! While his proposal is just a suggestion (Congress will need to make a final decision), there’s been significant movement around providing increased funding for veterans programs in Congress, particularly HUD-VASH vouchers.

Just this week, there are two Dear Colleague letters being circulated, one in the House and one in the Senate, in support of providing robust funding for HUD-VASH vouchers.  The House letter closes today, but it’s already received approximately 45 signatures – an impressive feat in this difficult funding environment.

There’s been significant progress, but we still need your help! We need to make sure that as many senators as possible sign on to the Dear Colleague letter being circulated by Senators Jack Reed (D – RI), Olympia Snowe (R – ME), and Charles Schumer (D – NY) in support of robust funding for HUD-VASH and for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, which served more than 12,000 homeless veterans in 2010.

Reach out to your senators’ offices by March 20 and encourage them to sign on! On March 20, the letter will be sent to the leaders of the Appropriations Committee, who are making the ultimate decisions on funding levels for programs like HUD-VASH vouchers. The more support from they see for funding for homeless veteran programs from their colleagues, the more likely they are to provide increased resources.

Email Kate at cseif@naeh.org if you need help finding out who to contact.  You can use this sample letter to help you when reaching out to your senators’ offices.

1st March
2012
written by Kate Seif

We may all take pride and comfort in the recent finding that homelessness among veterans has significantly decreased in recent years – and yet, there’s still a long way to go to end veteran homelessness and much remains to be done.  We must now take advantage of all the important lessons we’ve learned about how to best serve homeless veterans and leverage the Administration’s support to finish the job of ending veteran homelessness.

One of the biggest contributors to the decreased number of homeless veterans has been the increased federal investment in efficient and effective programs, such as the joint Department of Housing and Urban Development – Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program. Despite the increasingly difficult funding environment, homeless veteran programs have continued to receive increased resources. In fact, the President’s Budget Proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2013 included a whopping $333 million proposed increase to homeless veteran programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), with a final funding recommendation of $1.35 billion for homeless veterans programs. In addition to funding for HUD-VASH case management, this total includes funding for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, for which the President recommended a three-fold increase to $300 million, and the Grant and Per Diem Program.

This is excellent news and a clear sign that the Administration intends to stand behind and work toward the plan of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.  The President’s Budget Proposal, however, is just a guide – it is not law.  Congress still needs to finalize funding levels for these programs through the regular appropriations process.

This is where you come in! Help make sure our nation’s heroes are housed by joining our Veterans Campaign! Together, we can secure increased funding for these critical veteran homeless assistance programs in FY 2013. You can join our dedicated email list, which provides regular updates and action alerts on funding for veterans programs by emailing Kate Seif at cseif@naeh.org.

Right now, we’re trying to get Members of Congress to hear from as many people as possible about how important it is to end veteran homelessness – and we only have three weeks left! Members of the House have until March 20 to submit to their colleagues on the Appropriations Committees an official list of their funding priorities for specific programs.  Senators haven’t set a deadline yet, but it’s likely to be around the same time. Take this opportunity to send a letter or email to and encourage your representative or senator to send a “programmatic request” in support of providing $1.35 billion for VA’s homeless veteran programs. When you contact your congress person’s office, make sure to reach out to the congressional staffer who works on veterans’ issues in their office.

Working together, we’ve already made progress in educating Members of Congress on the importance of these programs.  Just today, Alliance staff met with key staff members in the Senate to discuss the importance of the SSVF program and the role rapid re-housing plays in successfully serving veterans and their families.  Let’s continue to capitalize on the progress that’s been made – get involved and let your Members know that those who served our country deserve a place to call home! Use this sample letter to help craft your message, and let Kate know if you have any questions.

Together, with your help, we can make sure Congress knows that our veterans – from any conflict, from any branch, from any base – deserve our help and support.

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15th February
2012
written by Anna Blasco

Yesterday, the Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2013 Budget Proposal. The proposal included increases in funding for some programs that are key to ending homelessness for veterans. One of these, the the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program, would increase from $224 million to $235 million. Currently, GPD assistance is limited to transitional housing and services. VA is planning to propose legislation that would allow GPD grantees and subgrantees to utilize a ―transition in place model and provide permanent housing. Below is an interview with Ian Lisman, Program and Policy Analyst at the Alliance, about these proposed changes to the GPD program. More resources on the President’s Budget and what this means for homelessness assistance programs can be found on the our website.

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26th December
2011
written by naehblog

Today’s guest post comes to us from MilitaryFamilies.com.

Homeless veterans face the same hardships as the rest of the homeless population, but veterans also face unique challenges related to their history of service.  Increased collaborative efforts from the Department of Veterans Affairs and community providers have improved the rates of homelessness among our veterans in recent years.  However, many more homeless and at-risk veterans still urgently need assistance.

On any given night, over 75,000 military veterans sleep in homeless shelters or on the streets, and about 136,000 veterans use homeless shelters or other services during the course of a year.  Nearly nine in ten of these homeless veterans left their military service with an honorable discharge, and nearly that many have a high school diploma or GED.

In fact, veterans on average are more likely to have an education than non-veterans.  As a result, veterans in general do better financially; about ten percent of the American population lives below the poverty line, but only about five percent of veterans live in poverty.  Unfortunately, impoverished veterans seem more likely than impoverished civilians to slide into homelessness.  Of adults in poverty, about five percent become homeless at some point; veterans in poverty become homeless at about double that rate.

Why are poor veterans so much more vulnerable to homelessness than poor civilians? At least part of the answer may be linked to social isolation.  Ninety-six percent of homeless veterans arrive at homeless shelters alone; twenty percent of the general homeless population usually arrives at shelters with at least one family member.  This apparent lack of social support networks among poor veterans may be related to the same factors as the high divorce rate among military members, and it may make some veterans more vulnerable to homelessness once they become impoverished.

Along with this social isolation, many homeless veterans struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and/or other mental health issues linked to their experiences in combat and their difficulties since.  Improved access to counseling and other mental health treatment is an urgent need of homeless veterans.  Other urgent needs include medical care, safe and stable housing, and employment assistance.  Access to these services can prevent homelessness for veterans before it begins, and help veterans into a better situation if they do experience homelessness.

The VA is increasing its efforts and making great progress, but community programs are a very effective way to help homeless veterans, especially if programs involve other veterans as sources of support, encouragement, camaraderie, and assistance.  These programs draw from the strengths of military culture; close bonds, teamwork, leadership, and individual strength combined with peer support is a powerful recipe for recovery and stability.

We don’t have to stop there; all of us can lend a hand to our nation’s service men and women.  How can you help America’s homeless heroes?

Learn about the issues facing homeless veterans in general, especially veterans in your neighborhood.  Find organizations in your area serving homeless veterans; the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans has a searchable database, and the Department of Veterans Affairs website offers a listing of national organizations such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army.  Volunteer with one of these organizations; your skills, time, and compassion can make a difference!

For more information about homelessness among veterans and their families, please check out our website.

MilitaryFamily.com is a community website designed to connect military families with a system of current and relevant resources. The website empowers military families while improving quality of life through community, guidance, and support.

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11th November
2011
written by Steve Berg

Homelessness among veterans is more common than among other Americans, despite the strong sense of goodwill that exists across the country toward people who have served in the armed forces, and despite the many resources the federal government, rightfully, commits to taking care of veterans in need.  This is perhaps the most frustrating single piece of the homelessness problem – the political will is there, the know-how is there, and the resources are there for the asking – and yet the problem of veterans homelessness hasn’t been solved because everyone has had other priorities.

Which is why Secretary Shinseki’s call for an end to veterans homelessness is so hopeful.  That call, and the steps that have been taken by VA, and by others around the country in response, have left us closer than ever before to a solution.  VA has expanded the range of homeless services they offer, put more caseworkers in the field (either directly or through contracts) to help homeless or at-risk veterans with housing and access to health and employment services. They’ve even developed systems to quantify progress.  An important shift in mindset is in process, focusing on solving the problem instead of just running disparate programs – and it’s clear from the progress made thus far that the process has changed for the better.

And yet, in no way is this a done deal.  The work that remains, while less than for any other part of the homelessness problem, is substantial.  The keys to making that happen over the next few years are as follows:

  • Persistence – We need to finish what we’ve started.  It will be important to keep going back to Congress each year to follow up on commitments of funding.  HUD-VASH and Supportive Services for Veteran Families, providing permanent supportive housing on the one hand and emergency prevention and rapid re-housing on the other, need to be scaled up to solve the entire problem. This is an entirely achievable goal, even in times of tight federal budgets.
  • Outreach and engagement – With the resources and appropriate program models in place, the biggest task will be to find every homeless veteran, and every veteran at imminent risk of homelessness, and make sure that he or she is connected to the right package of services.  VA has an important role to play, as does the Department of Defense; but so does every person in every community who may encounter a veteran in these situations.
  • Make it everybody’s business – Solving this problem will require that the outpouring of goodwill toward veterans that we have seen in recent years translates into real action, by entire communities.  Leaders from VA and from local communities need to be working together, involving employers, landlords, the faith community, every level of government, and every concerned resident who can help.
  • Keep leadership VA’s mission – At the same time that it is everyone’s business to end veterans homelessness, everyone will continue to look to VA for leadership.  The Secretary’s leadership has been vigorous; that leadership will also need to be exercised by VISN and Medical Center directors around the country.
  • Housing First – Secretary Shinseki has clearly backed a Housing First approach, beginning with his statement at the Alliance’s national conference in July, 2010, because it works.  This approach is sometimes opposed because it appears to inadequately condemn what is seen as bad behavior, and on the grounds that a homeless person should be required to earn housing by good behavior.  The “earn it” approach, however, will not lead to an end to veterans homelessness, as 25 years of experience proves.  We need to be clear that veterans earned protection from homelessness when they put on uniforms and agreed to put their lives at risk.

Happy Veterans Day to everyone, and our thanks to those who have served and are serving still.

We are looking forward to substantially fewer veterans living homeless each year, until in a few years every veteran has a decent place to live, and every veteran who loses housing gets the help he or she needs, immediately, to solve that crisis.

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10th November
2011
written by Kate Seif

Often when we think of homeless veterans, the image that comes to mind is that of an older man, likely of the Vietnam generation, living on the streets.  In other words, we tend to associate homeless veterans with chronically homeless people.  For this group of people, we know that one of the best interventions to end their homelessness and to prevent future episodes is the joint Departments of Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program.  Permanent supportive housing, we know, is solution to chronic homelessness; housing, with services and case management through VA, is ending chronic homelessness among veterans one unit at a time.

As such, even in this difficult funding environment, Congress is likely to provide $75 million for approximately 11,000 new vouchers this year.

This is fantastic news and it is helping to end veterans homelessness, but unfortunately, our homeless veterans don’t always meet that image we have in our head.  Instead, many are increasingly younger, veterans not only of the Gulf War, but our current conflicts as well.  Larger and larger portions of the homeless vet population are females, often with young children.

So how do we serve homeless veterans that may not fit into the definition we have in our heads? VA is responding to the changing face of our veterans with programs like the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) program, which provides services to families residing in transitional or permanent supportive housing.  But again, this program only targets a specific population.  What program will serve the young woman who doesn’t consider herself a veteran because she never saw combat? Or the young man who doesn’t know enough about PTSD to connect his symptoms of fear and depression with his experiences in theater?

HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants have been serving the homeless population, including veterans, families, chronically homeless individuals, and youth with a variety of interventions, including permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, and others. It has proven successful in reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness and is often the program that serves our veterans, whether those individuals identify as such or have any formal connection to VA services.

While many veterans programs are continuing to receive robust and increased funding, HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs are not.  McKinney needs an increase to meet the rising need of people experiencing homelessness in this difficult economic climate to serve our veterans, young and old, male and female, and everyone else who may be at risk of or experiencing homelessness – our friends, our neighbors, and fellow Americans.

With Veterans Day just around the corner, please take a moment to consider helping our less fortunate heroes.

The House is currently circulating a sign-on letter encouraging appropriators to provide increased funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs.  Some of this extra funding will inevitably serve those who served our country.  Please call your representatives and ask them to sign on to the Hastings/Moore/Johnson McKinney sign-on letter TODAY!

9th November
2011
written by Ian Lisman

My old boss used to jokingly say “Everyone thinks their clients are special, well ours actually are.”

He was talking about veterans; my boss was a Vietnam veteran himself. Having been a direct service provider for homeless veterans, I can attest that they are a special population indeed – with a host of unique characteristics and barriers that can inhibit the housing and recovery process.

The first hurdle is walking in the door. Many veterans simply won’t ask for help, even when they desperately need it. The culture of self-reliance and determination, coupled with the warrior mentality that served them so well in the military, does not always translate well to civilian life. To this day, baby boomer children are bringing their World War Two and Korean War veteran fathers into agencies seeking assistance. The spouses of Vietnam veterans are bringing their reluctant partners in for help, decades after their service. Understanding this perspective is key to helping veterans help themselves. They want a hand up, not a hand out. They want to work, be productive, and continue to serve the country they love.

Then there are the medical issues. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is highly prevalent among combat veterans and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI’s) are the “signature” wound of the current conflicts. Due to advances in medical technology, there are many veterans who have survived wounds that would have been deadly a generation ago. This leaves us with a population of wounded warriors that have serious physical limitations to cope with for the rest of their life.  Moreover, there are psychological factors that may impede the road to health and housing.  For example, veterans represent a small portion (9 percent) of our population and their experiences are so outside the ordinary experience of civilian life. Combat veterans in particular have trouble reintegrating after conflict. These experiences tend to set veterans apart from the rest of society. This isolation that ensues may contribute to psychological and potentially damaging problems.

And then the search starts. Until recently, finding a place for a homeless veteran to stay was a fairly difficult process. The choices were emergency shelter, transitional housing program (very high demand), motel vouchers (few and far between), treatment facility (short term), or some other such halfway intervention.

In the past a veteran had to bounce around from program to program, shelter to shelter to find a place to sleep. If the veteran couldn’t work and had limited or no income, he or she was just out of luck. Those who could work struggled, and still do, to find affordable housing. Bad credit, evictions, and other housing barriers only aggravate matters.

Luckily, in recent years, more options have become available. With the re-authorization of HUD-VASH, service providers can end homelessness for some chronically homeless veterans. With the SSVF grants coming on board there are now opportunities for newly homeless and at risk veterans to avoid the staggering inefficiency of the shelter system. Shelters will always have their place, but now they can be used in the most efficient way – as a brief, intermediary band-aid until providers can find a housing-based solution for the veteran.

As Steve pointed out yesterday, our national community has committed to honoring the service of veterans by ensuring that no servicemember ends up facing life on the street. And we’ve made strides to move towards a country with veteran homelessness.

But the fight is far from over. Unemployment among veterans is almost twice as high as unemployment among non-veterans. Veterans are still overrepresented in the homeless population. Veterans still face an array of challenges – environmental, psychological, medical – that will infringe upon their ability to become reintegrated into society and safely re-housed.

Working with veterans is a fine balance of understanding and respect. But it’s the very least we can do in honor of the brave men and women who have so valiantly served our country.

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8th November
2011
written by Steve Berg

One of the most exciting days in recent years was November 3, 2009, when Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Erik Shinseki came to a national summit convened by VA and announced that it was his goal to end homelessness for veterans in five years. Veterans homelessness is the most frustrating part of the homelessness problem, because the resources and political will to end it should be available with sufficient leadership.  General Shinseki’s speech indicated that leadership from the top would not be lacking.

Since that date, VA Headquarters has pulled out the stops to get a plan off the ground, along with Congress and others including the Alliance.  Among the most important things that have emerged since them are:

A clearer mission – Secretary Shinseki’s announcement signaled a change at VA, to go beyond running disparate homeless assistance programs. Instead, VA plans to reorganize itself to solve the problem of veterans homelessness.  A central component of that reorganization was individual commitment to the goal. As VA has a decentralized management, adoption of this goal at the top was not enough to turn the goal into action.  But over the past two years, more and more leaders at the local and regional level of VA have become personally committed to the goal.

A broader range of program options – Until recently, VA’s homelessness programs served a narrow range of homeless veterans.  VA had no programs designed for the most chronically ill, chronically homeless veterans; and it had no programs for veterans who were homeless due to short-term crises that were primarily economic.  Both of these gaps, however, are in the process of being filled.

  • HUD-VASH – For each of the past four years, Congress has funded a new batch of HUD-VASH supportive housing vouchers along with case management services at VA.  This is an ideal tool for ending homelessness for those veterans with severe disabilities who are homeless the longest.  HUD-VASH, when revived by Congress four years ago, required VA to do some new things, so the early vouchers were slow getting out and not necessarily targeted to those with the most need.  The performance of VA, however, has improved substantially, both in efficiently getting new vouchers out the door, and targeting them to chronically homeless veterans.
  • SSVF – The Supportive Services for Veteran Families program recently awarded its first round of funding: $50 million to 85 nonprofit providers around the country to provide rapid re-housing and emergency homelessness prevention services to veterans, similar to the services provided by HPRP.  The programs are up and running and another round of funding – twice as large this time – has already been approved for next year.

And VA is still going. Over the next year and more, expect the unveiling of a number of new parts of VA’s plan:

  • SSVF expansion – Funding has already been approved to double the size of the program.  Additional expansion will be necessary to meet all the need.
  • 60,000 HUD-VASH vouchers – Support appears strong in Congress to continue to expand this program as long as VA’s work on targeting continues to improve.  Every indication is that there will be sufficient HUD-VASH rent subsidies and services for all chronically homeless veterans.
  • Housing First – Secretary Shinseki has publically supported a Housing First approach that allows homeless veterans, even those with severe service needs, to be established in permanent housing as the first step in their move to independence. Services that target personal, medical, psychological, and other issues are provided after housing.
  • More and better data – VA already has a strong plan for improving data about homelessness among veterans which will be useful at targeting resources and assessing progress.
  • The most effective practices – VA’s National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans is expanding its ability to provide help to local and regional VA staff in order to better understand and implement effective models.

This is a plan that can succeed. This is a problem that can be solved. If we can find and house 76,000 homeless veterans, we can end veteran homelessness.

Later this week, we’ll go into what needs to happen, both in VA and in communities, for that to happen.

7th November
2011
written by Pete Witte

Here are the eye-popping facts taken from the October report authored by the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, Veteran Homelessness: A Supplemental Report to the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress:

  • On a given night in 2010, more veterans were homeless than in 2009 (76,329 compared to 75,609);
    • Nearly 33,000 of those veterans were living on the streets, in abandoned buildings, in cars, or other places non intended for human habitation;
    • Veterans make up nearly 12 percent of the total homeless population;
  • From October 2009 to September 2010, almost 150,000 veterans spent a night at a shelter or in transitional housing;
    • About one-third of those veterans were sheltered in suburban or rural areas;
  • Nationally, the rate of veterans homelessness is 35 out of every 10,000 veterans are homeless;
    • There are 12 states where this rate is higher (see map above); and
    • In Washington, DC, the rate is 190 per 10,000 veterans;
  • More than half (51 percent) of sheltered homeless veterans have a disability;
  • Veterans are more than twice as likely to be homeless as non-veterans;
  • If you are a female veteran, you are two and a half times more likely to be homeless as non-veteran females;
    • If you are a poor female veteran, you are nearly three and a half times as likely to be homeless as non-veteran poor females;
  • Among minority groups, poor veterans’ risk of homelessness is higher;
    • Poor Hispanics and Latinos veterans are nearly three times more likely to be homeless than non-veteran poor Hispanics and Latinos;
    • Poor Hispanics and Latinos veterans are nearly three times more likely to be homeless than non-veteran poor Hispanics and Latinos;
    • Poor African-Americans veterans are more than two times as likely to be homeless than non-veteran poor African Americans;
  • A veteran aged 18 to 30 is more than twice as likely to become homeless as a non-veteran of that same age cohort;
  • Among the 18 to 30 age cohort, if you are a poor veteran you are nearly four times as likely to be homeless as a non-veteran in your cohort.

And while I just laid out the “eye-popping” facts, I want to leave you with an important, departing (and encouraging) fact.

In November, 2009, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary, General Eric Shinseki said, “[The VA is] committed to ending homelessness among veterans within the next five years. Those who have served this nation as veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope.”

I agree.

And if you’ve read this far, then I imagine that you’ll want to know more about what can be done to ensure that all veterans maintain permanent housing. To find out more about how to end homelessness among veterans and to hear about associated activities that VA and HUD have taken up, see Alliance veterans’ policy analyst Ian Lisman’s blog article here.

For a one-pager on veterans homelessness, please visit the Alliance website.

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2nd November
2011
written by Ian Lisman

Today’s post comes to us from Ian Lisman, program and policy analyst at the Alliance. Ian is is a U.S. Army combat veteran of the first Gulf War.

A troubling 76,000 homeless veterans are homeless on any given night in the United States. While that number may seem daunting, we at the Alliance are confident that we can end veteran homelessness. Already, as a result of the cooperation between the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), we have made strides in understanding the characteristics and size of the homeless population.

If we utilize the right strategies from the start, we can slowly and surely decrease this number until we end veteran homelessness. The challenge facing us now is implementing those strategies. Fortunately, through great work being done all across the country, we’ve been able to identify many of them:

Prevention

A problem is usually easier to prevent than solve – and homelessness is no different. The VA and other agencies have recognized this fundamental logic with the release of the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) grants and the VA / HUD joint venture Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration Program (VHPD).

These grants offer lower cost interventions that help veterans from becoming homeless in the first place by offering short term cash assistance (including help with rent and utilities). This model recognizes that for many veterans homelessness is a one-time, short term event.

Housing

That being said, there are many veterans who are already homeless and may have severe barriers to obtaining permanent housing (including disability, mental illness, substance abuse issues, and service-related trauma). These higher need veterans are better served by a more intense intervention: permanent supportive housing (PSH).

To this end the VA has partnered with HUD to create the HUD-VASH housing voucher program. This program gives chronically homeless and other higher-need homeless veterans access to the one thing they need: affordable permanent housing. The vouchers are similar to Section 8 vouchers but include case management for the veteran. This program also espouses a Housing First approach in some instances, whereby the veteran is afforded housing before other considerations are made or treatments take effect. The idea being that stable housing is the foundation necessary to address any other personal challenges. Although this solution is more costly than other interventions, it saves money over time by reducing and removing costs associated with long term homelessness (including incarceration, emergency room visits, high shelter use, and the like). And most importantly, permanent supportive housing ends homelessness.

Temporary Services

Between prevention and housing, there is a middle ground approach which includes shorter-term housing and supportive service programs, of which the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program is a good example.

These are programs that provide temporary housing along with other services (mental health, employment, and life skills, among others) that allow the veteran to stabilize and get the skills he or she needs to move out of homelessness and into housing stability. These programs are most effective when tied to a more clinical setting treating a specific disorder (including mental health conditions or substance abuse issues). These programs are quite popular, although not as successful as prevention and permanent housing programs.

All of these models have their place and purpose in the spectrum of ending veteran homelessness. The key is properly targeting the right veteran for the right service. With careful screening, each homeless veteran can be provided the services and tools that are carefully tailored to his or her specific needs.

While the challenge may loom large, the cause is more than worthy. In this month of November, with Veterans Day right around the corner, the Alliance encourages you to get involved with ending homelessness by engaging with us or with your local homeless assistance provider. For more information about how to get involved, please contact us.

For more information about veteran homelessness, please visit our website.

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