United States Interagency Council on Homelessness - No on should experience homelessness. No one should be without a safe, stable place to call home.
Ending Veterans Homelessness
November 2011

In honor of Veterans Day, USICH is devoting this week's newsletter to the national effort to end Veterans homelessness by 2015.  


Last year, over 76,000 of America's Veterans experienced homelessness on a given night in January. We honor the service and sacrifice of these men and women by committing to prevent and end Veterans homelessness by 2015. This national effort is supported by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and across the nation who have collaborated for years to make progress on ending Veterans homelessness.


The most important defense against a Veteran becoming homeless is a job that pays well enough to cover basic living costs. President Obama has proposed a plan to encourage employers to hire Veterans. Measures in the American Jobs Act will expand opportunities for unemployed Veterans to re-enter the workforce, provide hiring incentives to businesses, and help create new job opportunities for returning service members. Yesterday, President Obama also took executive action to enact three new initiatives through the Department of Labor's VETS program to improve employment outcomes for Veterans.  


The Obama administration set preventing and ending Veterans homelessness by 2015 as one of the four goals in Opening Doors. Since the announcement, USICH has worked with its 19 member agencies and stakeholders from across the country to make progress towards the goal. Particularly noteworthy are the following:


  • Better data collection, analysis, and reporting. Agencies within HHS and VA are working with HUD to coordinate these efforts. Good data is essential to understanding the size of the problem, measuring what works and what doesn't, and determining what we need to do better. A concrete example is the issuance of the Veterans supplement to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR).
  • Adoption of proven tools to prevent and end homelessness. VA has pushed a clear charge out to its medical centers, local providers, and partners to initiate community planning and adopt best practices such as Housing First and Critical Time Intervention. VA and USICH co-sponsored a summit last December that encouraged cross-sector collaboration and promoted Housing First interventions like Rapid Re-Housing.
  • 32,657 Veterans housed through HUD-VASH since 2008. HUD-VASH participants are issued a voucher for use in the private rental market and receive case management and clinical services provided by VA. 
  • New funding for 22,000 Veterans/Veteran families. The Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) program works with nonprofit organizations to provide social services for low-income and very low-income Veterans and their families currently residing in or transitioning to permanent housing. Funding to these organizations provides outreach and case management to families to help them through the process of accessing all VA benefits and mainstream benefits for which they are eligible.   

This newsletter shares some of the innovative work going on around the nation and highlights the ways some communities including Washington, DC; New Orleans, LA; Detroit, MI; and Cincinnati, OH are making progress on Veterans homelessness. 


USICH has called on states and communities to join the federal government in aligning state and local plans to end Veterans homelessness by 2015. As valuable partners in ending homelessness among Veterans, communities should do the following:

  • Include as part of the community strategic plan to end homelessness, a goal to end to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans by 2015. This plan should also incorporate the activities that are part of the local Veterans Affairs Medical Center's five year plan to end homelessness among Veterans. 
  • Set incremental goals and implement strategies to accomplish the overall goal and measure results and progress toward incremental goals.
  • Act strategically by evaluating the needs of local Veterans experiencing homelessness, and using proven strategies that are outlined in Opening Doors.  
  • Partner with USICH, VA, HUD, and other federal partners by keeping the lines of communication open. Let us know what's working and what can be improved as this can serve as a benefit to other communities around the country.

Together, using the proven tools that are available, we can end homelessness for Veterans by 2015.


USICH Webinar 

The Way Forward: Ending Veterans Homelessness by 2015


1:30-2:30pm EST 

This Wednesday, November 9th


Join USICH Deputy Director Anthony Love, 

Executive Director of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Homeless Initiative Dr. Susan Angell, President and CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans John Driscoll, and Executive Director for the Jericho Project Tori Lyon for a discussion of steps needed to achieve the goal of ending Veteran homelessness by 2015.


-  Register Now


Ending Veterans Homelessness by 2015 

A note from Susan Angell, the Executive Director for Veterans Homeless Initiatives at the Department of Veterans Affairs


Americans of all backgrounds are reminded daily of the sacrifices Veterans have made to protect the freedoms we cherish and often take for granted. We are all proud when announcements are made about service members in faraway places who successfully complete dangerous missions. Our collective humanity causes us to pause when we hear about service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom. We cheer for Veterans who compete in spirited athletic events while they are recovering from devastating combat injuries. Unfortunately, after their military service is over, some Veterans face a variety of challenges and become homeless. Sadly, when that happens, most people don't have the same level of interest or concern for the Veteran. As a Nation, we can do better...


-  Read more from Dr. Susan Angell


Partnership in Focus 

The Department of Labor's programs that support our Veterans  


Department of Labor Seal The Department of Labor has several programs that are directly targeted to helping Veterans gain meaningful employment when they return from service:

  • The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program
  • Incarcerated Veterans' Transition Program
  • The Veterans Workforce Investment Program
  • The Transition Assistance Program



Ending Veterans Homelessness in New Orleans

The importance of partnerships and shared goals

Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System (SLVHCS), which includes New Orleans, is an active community partner in ending homelessness. After Hurricane Katrina, homelessness in the region spiked, including increases in both chronic and Veteran homelessness. Since then, SLVHCS has developed new partnerships and is using new, successful practices as they rally to overcome the legacy of Katrina. They have merged their plan to end homelessness among Veterans by 2015 with the local plan to end homelessness generally.


USICH discussed Veterans homelessness in New Orleans and VA's role in ending it with key VA staff in the region. They shared nine pieces of advice on how to effectively meet the needs of Veterans experiencing homelessness while using resources wisely.


-  See the 9 tips from our colleagues in Louisiana   


Female Veterans have Increased Risk, Specific Needs to Overcome Homelessness

The recent military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen more women than ever before on the front lines. Compared to the 41,000 women deployed in the Gulf War, roughly 200,000 women have served or are serving in these conflicts. The number of women going into combat in direct roles is increasing, which means that within the next few years we can expect a greater number of female Veterans transitioning back to civilian life. Unfortunately, we are also beginning to see an increase of female Veterans experiencing homelessness upon their return. 


A female Veteran is four times as likely as her civilian counterpart to experience homelessness. Why is this the case? What can service providers do to ensure that women Veterans achieve stability in housing, health, and employment? USICH spoke with Risa Greendlinger, Executive Director of the WorkFirst Foundation and former Director of Veterans Issues at the National Center on Family Homelessness, and Larkin Harris the Project Director for the Chicagoland Women Veterans Employment Study and a female Navy Veteran who has personal experience navigating the government system and finding employment after her service. 


-  Read more  


100K Homes Housing Placement Boot Camp

A new efficient resource for decreasing time to housing

In many cities, the time it takes for an eligible Veteran who requests housing through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affair's Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program to actually get the keys to an apartment can be four months or more. 100K Homes set out to develop a new way to look at this problem with the hope of decreasing time to housing. What they developed is the housing placement boot camp which is effective for shortening the time to housing in other housing placement programs in addition to HUD-VASH. 


-  Learn about the Housing Placement Boot Camp Process


-  Read 100K Homes' post "Mythbusters: Using HUD-VASH to House Homeless Veterans" that debunks some of the common misperceptions about the HUD-VASH process.


-  100K Homes Director Becky Kanis shared the top nine ways to reduce time to housing for communities around the country.  


Planning Successful Outcomes for Veterans

Measuring impact in Cincinnati

A component of Opening Doors and the VA's plan to end homelessness among Veterans in 5 years is promoting the use of management systems to monitor outcomes for both individual Veterans and the programs that serve them. It is important to have good data that measures outcomes for Veterans that is consistent and coordinated with data that comes from all homelessness services. The Partnership Center in Cincinnati has been a leader in making sure that Veterans are counted in its local HMIS software platform.


Improving HUD-VASH Outcomes in Washington, DC

Last August, USICH profiled the success of Washington, DC in dramatically decreasing time to housing for HUD-VASH participants. The program is a goal oriented, collaborative effort that reduced the time to housing for Veterans in DC housed through HUD-VASH from 6-8 months to 1-2 months. USICH also hosted a webinar where the Director of the Washington, DC Public Housing Authority Adrianne Todman presenting the steps to success for the DC HUD-VASH process.


-  Learn more about how DC achieved their goal  


-  Watch the webinar  


Table of Contents
Veterans Affairs on the Path to Ending Veterans Homelessness
Department of Labor's Programs for Veterans
Strong Partnerships and Shared Goals Help New Orleans Begin to End Veteran Homelessness
Focus on Female Veterans
100K Homes Housing Placement Boot Camps
Integrating Veteran Programs into the HMIS in Cincinnati
Improving HUD-VASH in DC
Five Things to Know
Model Program Profile
Five things to know

76,329 - number of Veterans homeless on a given night in 2010  


25.2% of all Veterans experiencing homelessness live in California


Another 24.6% live in Florida, New York, or Texas


32,657 - number of Veterans permanently housed through HUD-VASH


2015 - when we'll end Veterans homelessness together 


Read the Veterans AHAR to Learn More 


Upcoming Events
USICH Webinar: 
Ending Veteran Homelessness the Path Forward 
November 9
1:30-2:30pm EST 


- Register Now 



HHS Conference Call: 
Affordable Care Act 101
November 16
4:00-5:00pm EST 


Register Now 


Check Out More Upcoming Events on our Online Calendar   



Model Program Profile: Piquette Square Apartments 


Permanent Supportive Housing is a model that has proven successful at ending Veterans homelessness especially chronic Veteran homelessness.


Piquette Square is a successful Permanent Supportive Housing facility for Veterans in Detroit.


Read more


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