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.