Last month the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued the announcement for letters of intent for the next round of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant funding with a focus of expanding the SSVF program to all communities.
The day following that announcement, I had the privilege of giving a presentation with Vince Kane and John Kuhn of the VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, sponsored by the Lebanon PA VA Medical Center. As I listened to both Vince and John speak to the attendees about VA and the SSVF program, I was struck by the common thread in our presentations: to end homelessness, we need to rapidly re-house families that become homeless and target our prevention resources to those most at risk of homelessness.
VA is looking for SSVF applicants that can show that they have the experience and capacity to deliver targeted prevention and rapid re-housing for veteran families. Vince and John emphasized that in this competitive world, applicants need to do their research and adopt best practices/strategies in implementing the SSVF program.
At the Alliance, we have been working with communities to strengthen and expand rapid re-housing programs. This opportunity, provided by SSVF funding, is a great way that communities can expand rapid re-housing for veteran families experiencing homelessness.
We have learned a lot about what works in communities that have had successes in rapid re-housing with Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP) funding. As a result, the Alliance has developed a number of resources on rapid re-housing to help organizations and communities implement or expand their RRH programs. Most recent are three short modules that cover key components of rapid rehousing. These resources can help current SSVF programs build capacity in their program, and help new applicants strategically develop a strong proposal.
Rapid re-housing is key to helping end family homelessness, and now the opportunity is available to expand this strategy to veteran families. As Vince Kane said during his presentation, we need to do things “faster, smarter, better, together.”
Photo “Veterans Stand Down and Homeless Services Day Prince Georges County” courtesy of Maryland GovPics.