Ending Veteran Homelessness Step One: Creating a Master List

In order to house your homeless veterans in your community, you need to know who they are.

That’s why creating a master list of homeless veterans in your community is step one on our Five Steps to Ending Veteran Homelessness. Creating a comprehensive list of homeless veterans in your community may sound daunting, but it could be easier than you think.

With coordinated assessment, regular and continuous outreach, and working with all your partners, your Continuum of Care should be able to create and maintain a list of veterans in your community who need to be housed. Here’s what we say in the 5 Steps:

Creating a master list of veterans known to be homeless, and continuously updating this list, ensures that all providers and partners are on the same page and have a clear set of people that need housing.

A coordinated assessment system is a good way to track this information. You and your partners should also work to ensure you are doing targeted outreach to veterans not already in your system for their inclusion on your list.

The creation of such a list will also aid communication between the local VA and Continuum of Care (CoC) and aid in the identification of veterans that may be ineligible for VA services. The purpose of having a master list is to ensure that all partners, including the CoC and VA, can quickly find and house all homeless veterans as soon as a housing opportunity becomes available.

The details of the list (i.e. what data beyond names, if any, you should include on it) and who manages it will be up to your community. A couple important points to note are that a veteran is generally dropped from the list when he or she is in permanent housing, even if they are still working with VA or SSVF case managers through their programs.

It’s also up to your community when it comes to the question of whether or not you will keep veterans in Grant and Per Diem housing on your list, but most places do. Additionally, you can order your list as you see fit. Most places will organize their master list by acuity, which will of course require assessment and screening, but will ultimately make the re-housing process easier.

The master list doesn’t need to be perfect, but you do need to create and maintain one, and you do need to keep it updated and assessed regularly (in some cases daily). This list will guide your community’s efforts to identify needed resources and housing stock and ultimately get veterans into housing.

For more information on creating a master list, check out this presentation (embedded above) from the Alliance’s Capacity Building Director Cynthia Nagendra. Feel free to share the presentation and the PowerPoint slides with your community!