May 18, 2012

Jake Maguire's picture Posted By Jake Maguire

Denver, Department of Veterans Affairs Push the Campaign over 16,000 Housed

Today, for the first time since partnering with the 100,000 Homes Campaign, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported housing over 2,600 vulnerable and chronically homeless veterans in Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) across the country.* The large number of vulnerable and chronically homeless veterans newly housed by VA combines with an encouraging number of new people housed by longtime Campaign participant, Denver's Road Home, to officially push the total number of people housed by organizations participating in the Campaign to over 16,000 nationwide!

Congratulations to the team in Denver, VA teams across the country, and everyone who is working hard to further the goals of this movement!

(Photo: Members of the Denver's Road Home team celebrate helping push the national Campaign tally over 16,000 people housed!)

Nationally, VA has set a major goal to increase the percentage of its HUD-VASH supportive housing vouchers dedicated to chronically homeless veterans to 65 percent or more. To help achieve this goal, Campaign staff have begun working to connect participating community organizations with VISN representatives and staffers from local Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) to build effective, on-the-ground partnerships. VA staff members are also partnering with participating community groups to implement local registry weeks and, most recently, to complete a series of Rapid Results Housing Placement Boot Camps designed to shorten the amount of time required to house homeless veterans. Both the partnerships established between VA and these communities and the broad support of HUD have contributed to today’s milestone.

The Campaign has been working aggressively for several months to forge connections between community non-profits and outreach organizations and staff members at local VAMCs. Improved relationships between these two groups will help VA to take advantage of local registry week data to identify and begin processing housing applications for the large number of chronically homeless veterans that may remain hidden or fail to seek VA services of their own accord. Already, these collaborative efforts have assisted VA in identifying and housing the more than 2,600 chronically homeless veterans it reported to the Campaign’s data team today.
VA has also partnered with the Campaign, along with HUD, USICH, and the Rapid Results Institute, to mount a series of three boot camp-style training events in San Diego, Houston and Orlando. These events bring together VA staffers, outreach teams, and housing authority representatives from participating communities for a two-day slate of brainstorming and team building exercises designed to help participants revamp their local systems for housing homeless veterans. Communities are asked to begin by mapping out their existing systems and spend the remaining time working together to identify ways to improve and streamline these systems to make them quicker and more accessible for the homeless veterans who must utilize them. The training concludes with each community setting an “unreasonable but achievable” goal to house as many chronically homeless veterans as possible in 100 days. The countdown begins as soon as the training ends. Precursor events in Los Angeles and New York City have already helped local participants reduce the amount of time needed to house a homeless veteran by over 40 percent.
We’re also excited to be partnering with VA, HUD and USICH in the nationwide Got Your 6 campaign, a major collaboration between the entertainment industry and a range of top-tier non-profits designed to support and empower America’s veterans in the areas of jobs, housing, education, health, family and leadership. In coordination with Got Your 6, the 100,000 Homes Campaign, VA, HUD, USICH and over 120 participating communities are leading an effort to house 10,000 chronically homeless veterans by July 2014.
The progress announced today place us squarely on track to fulfill that commitment and further the battle to end veteran homelessness in America. Congratulations to participating communities and VA staff for these amazing results!
*The data provided here is reflective of completed VA evaluation data on both chronic and vulnerable homeless veterans. Results are more inclusive than strict chronic homeless definition. Vulnerable is defined as a veteran with one of the following health factors:  60+ years of age, dual diagnosis or multiple treatment failures. Data is subject to change on a monthly basis.