This brief on the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program is one in a series that is intended to provide community leaders and rapid re-housing providers with information on how they can use different federal programs to fund rapid re-housing. Each brief contains information on the funding source, ways it can be used to support rapid re-housing, and examples of communities that have successfully done so.
In this recording of a webinar that originally streamed April 14, 2015, speakers discuss two communities that are expanding their capacity to rapidly re-house individuals and families. Speakers describe how they built political will to transform their system, reallocated resources, and improved system performance.
Rapid re-housing isn't easy, but it is simple. And it's bringing us closer and closer to ending veteran homelessness by the end of this year. The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grants to community organizations across the country have taken the rapid re-housing intervention to a scale previously unseen, and the impact on veteran homelessness has been astonishing.
It isn’t easy. People experiencing homelessness often face numerous barriers to getting into and retaining stable, permanent housing. Data from Fiscal Year 2013 shows that more than half of the veterans participating in SSVF services had a disabling condition; 44 percent had a substance use disorder; and nearly a third had no income at the time of program entry. Yet 84 percent of participants exited the program to permanent housing with a median length of 90 days of services.
How has SSVF managed to achieve such dramatic outcomes?
Today when a family facing a housing crisis seeks shelter in Los Angeles or Mercer County, NJ, they will encounter a very different homeless service system than they would have just a few short years ago. That’s because both communities have radically transformed their homeless service systems to increase their capacity to help families.
In the past, families in L.A. would call programs all over the county to find a vacancy. Due to the county’s size, they might find a program 25 or even 50 miles from their previous residence. Too often, they would be forced to turn to an adult shelter program or a facility in Skid Row that was poorly equipped to support families with children. Today, the city has Family Solutions Centers strategically located through the county to assesses families’ housing needs and refer them to the most appropriate shelter or housing intervention in their own community.
This video is a recording of a webinar that originally streamed on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, that highlighted the rapid re-housing strategies of Mercer County (Trenton), NJ and Los Angeles. During the webinar leaders from these communities discussed how they have significantly expanded their capacity to rapidly re-house families. The speakers also highlighted the strategies they used to develop a coordinated entry system, expand rapid re-housing, lessons learned along the way, and the impact the shift has made in their larger homeless service system.