The Network’s Veterans Committee met this morning (stay tuned for minutes) and some of the conversation was about what it means to end veteran homelessness. Recently, the USICH answered this question with the following guidance:
The criteria for ending Veteran homelessness was developed to help guide communities as they take action to achieve the goal. We have also adopted a vision of what it means to end all homelessness. We hope these standards help to define the vision of ending Veteran homelessness within communities and will help align local efforts in support of that vision, with a focus on long-term, lasting solutions.
1) The community took steps needed to identify all Veterans experiencing homelessness, including Veterans who were unsheltered, as well as Veterans in shelter, in Grant Per Diem programs and other VA residential programs, in other transitional housing programs, and in other temporary institutional settings. This identification of Veterans included both Veterans that meet the definition of chronic homelessness and Veterans that are experiencing homelessness but do not meet the definition of chronic homelessness. The definition of Veteran used includes all persons who served in the armed forces, regardless of how long they served or the type of discharge they received.
2) There are no longer any Veterans experiencing unsheltered homelessness in the community. Some Veterans may not yet be in permanent housing, but all are now in some form of shelter (emergency shelter, treatment programs, transitional programs, other temporary institutional settings, etc…)
3) The community has the resources and a plan and timeline for providing permanent housing opportunities to all Veterans who are currently sheltered but are still experiencing homelessness. The community has identified the programs and resources that will be used to provide those housing opportunities and can provide those housing opportunities quickly and without barriers to entry, using Housing First principles and practices.
4) The community has resources, plans, and systems in place for identifying (1) Veterans that may have been missed in initial efforts to identify Veterans, (2) at-risk Veterans and (3) Veterans newly experiencing homelessness in the future.
- The community has adequate outreach and engagement strategies in place to be confident that they can identify such Veterans.
- The community has an adequate level of resources and the capacity to provide appropriate services to prevent homelessness for at-risk Veterans in the future.
- The community can provide options for shelter and has identified the programs and resources that will be used to provide quick access to permanent housing opportunities for these Veterans not addressed in the initial work.
5) The community has an adequate level of resources and appropriate plans and services in place to ensure the housing stability of formerly-homeless Veterans currently in permanent housing or who enter permanent housing in the future.
The USICH has developed additional guidance for self-assessment: Questions to Assess Whether Your Community has Achieved Goal of Ending Veteran Homelessness.
Hampshire County Friends of the Homeless issued this Request for Letters of Intent. Please read below:
Request for non-binding Letters of Intent
The Friends of Hampshire County Homeless Individuals is starting to plan for its next purchase of a house for homeless individuals. Our first was purchased in 2008; this Florence location houses six previously homeless individuals, some of whom have serious mental illness. The second was purchased in 2011, is in downtown Northampton, and houses six individuals who were homeless and are in recovery from substance abuse. In both cases the houses were bought, necessary repairs made, and fully furnished; and then deeded over to a service agency to own and manage as agreed upon. The new house should be approximately the same size and capacity, and probably consist of two or more units like the others. We expect to purchase the house sometime in 2016-2017. Based on potential funding restrictions the house will need to be located in Northampton.
The Friends are assessing the needs of other homeless populations in Hampshire County, including identifying unmet needs and/or gaps in a service continuum for these populations in order to determine who can best be served by our project, at this time; and to identify a partner agency or agencies for this house. We are requesting exploratory, non-binding letters of intent from potential partners. We are interested in:
- What homeless populations a prospective partner is interested in serving with this project (e.g., general; formerly incarcerated; unaccompanied youth; etc.)
- What you see as the unmet need, e.g. quantity of target population, and existing services for them, at this time.
- How the proposed project aligns with HUD priorities and with the regional goal to end homelessness
- The agency’s experience working with this population or populations, especially in a housing situation.
- The agency’s experience owning & managing housing properties.
- The agency’s financial ability to manage & maintain the property.
- The agency’s commitment to provide ongoing supportive services to the residents as needed
Letters should be submitted by July 15, 2015 to the address above, or by email to Rick Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include a contact name and information. Questions should be directed to Rick Hart by email, or to him by phone at 413-320-1886. Also, if agencies are not prepared to partner on this project, but would like to share information or feedback, that is welcome.
An announcement from United Way of Hampshire County:
Local agencies that provide emergency food, shelter, rental or utility assistance in Hampshire County Massachusetts are invited to apply for federal funding under the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). EFSP is a public/private partnership that disburses federal funds to local nonprofit organizations through a competitive process overseen by a local volunteer board. United Way of Hampshire County acts as administrator for the county.
Hampshire County funding levels for the upcoming EFSP Phase 32 are unknown at this time. In the most recent phase, approximately $17,000 in funding was distributed to agencies in Hampshire County. Overall, program funding levels for the region are expected to be similar to last year. Due to the limited funding available, please be aware that agencies meeting all of the application criteria may not receive their funding request.
Click here for the eligibility information sheet which includes important program guidelines and details.
Applications are DUE Wednesday, April 29, 2015 and must be submitted online.
The link address is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EFSPHampshirePhase32
Supplemental materials should be emailed to Info@UnitedWayHampshireCounty.org.
The minimum funding request is $500.00. The EFSP National Board has set the per diem fixed rate allowance for Mass Shelter at $12.50 and the per meal allowance fixed rate for Served Meals at $2.00.
For further information, please contact:
Victoria Lucadello, 413-584-3962 x100
The Network’s Veterans Committee has been hard at work producing accessible information to inform veterans of available resources and to assist non-veteran housing providers with information to ascertain veteran status. Please find below:
Are you eligible for Chapter 115 Veterans Benefits?
Veteran Intake Questionnaire and Access to Veteran Resources
Spanish translations will be posted as soon as available. And these resources will also be permanently available on the “Need Help?” page of our website.
Special thanks to Steve Connor of the Northampton Veterans Services Office and Sue White of the VA Medical Center for their assistance in producing this information.