These sample master lists are meant to serve as a model for communities following the Alliance’s “Five Steps to End Veteran Homelessness.” Creating and maintaining a master list of homeless veterans in your community is meant to ensure that service providers and partners that are working together to end veteran homelessness are on the same page and have a clear set of people who require housing.
What is a Master List?
A Master List is a list of homeless veterans in your community. This list is populated through information from outreach, HMIS, shelters, VA-funded programs including GPD providers, and any other providers in your community who may work with veterans experiencing homelessness. The list must be updated regularly – in most cases, daily – in order to ensure it has the most up-to-date information on veterans in your community. The Master List is not a waiting list – veterans on this list may already be accessing programs, waiting for a housing unit, or may self-resolve their homelessness – it is a list meant to give the key partners involved in ending veteran homelessness in your community a solid understanding of the people (not just the numbers) that need to be re-housed at any given time. It is a very important tool in your efforts to end veteran homelessness. You will use this list at your regular veteran-focused coordination/case conferencing meetings to determine where veterans are in your homeless assistance system, who needs to be prioritized, and what needs to be done and what barriers needs to be removed to get them into housing, and who is responsible for each person.
How do we start the list?
You could begin your list by working with your HMIS administrator to pull a list of veterans in your homeless assistance system. Depending on how you enter veterans into your system, you may find that the list is far too large or too small as compared to your most recent Point-in-Time Count (the PIT Count is a good measure of the approximate number of entries that should be on your Master List). If you want to start without HMIS or add to your HMIS-generated list, you should be working with every shelter, homeless outreach team, and the local VA Medical Center to continuously add veterans to the list. If your community has a coordinated entry system, every veteran that enters through it should be immediately added to the list. The list will not be perfect and may take days or even weeks to clean up; however, these steps will help you get started and you can work at updating and cleaning up the list as you go.
Do you have to use the veterans’ names on the list?
Not necessarily. Due to confidentiality issues, you may choose to use identifiers (i.e. Veteran 108) that can be easily identified by those accessing the list. As long as those utilizing the list can easily identify the veteran in question, you may choose to use the actual name, a nickname, a number, or other identifier – this will be entirely up to the key partners involved.
How do we order the list?
Many communities choose to order the list by vulnerability and/or length of time in homelessness. If your community uses an assessment tool, this will aid you in ordering the list appropriately. Depending on the number of veterans in your community (for example, fewer than 50), a specific order may not be needed.
Who is in charge of the Master List?
One staff person, entity or workgroup should be responsible for making sure the list is regularly updated and shared with all partners. All partners in your community that interact with homeless veterans (the Continuum of Care, the VA Medical Center, outreach workers, faith-based providers, and others) must be contributing to the creation and updating of the list. In many communities, the lead Continuum of Care agency or SSVF provider is the “holder” of the list and is responsible for adding information provided by other partners and bringing the list to the weekly veteran-focused meetings.
Should veterans in Grant and Per Diem be included on the list?
Yes. Veterans in GPD are in a transitional housing unit, meaning they will still need to be placed into permanent housing, either through HUD-VASH, SSVF, a CoC-funded permanent housing program, or on their own, at some point. As they are considered by HUD and VA to be homeless, they should be placed on your Master List.
When do you take a veteran off the list?
A veteran is removed from the list when they are no longer homeless (in permanent housing) or are no longer in contact with your system. A placement in permanent housing does not mean they are no longer working with your system, for example, they may still be utilizing case management through SSVF; however, they have been placed into permanent housing and would no longer be considered homeless by HUD or VA. If a veteran has lost touch with your system after a short shelter stay or other interaction with your homeless assistance system, you may remove them from your list after multiple attempts at contacting them. In these cases, some communities use a “three attempts” rule, removing the veteran after three distinct attempts to contact him or her over a defined period of time.
What other types of information can be included on the master list?
The amount and type of information you include will really be up to your community; however, most communities choose to add contact information for the veteran, case manager/outreach worker, length of homelessness, and/or a VISPDAT or other assessment score.