USICH Blog

Veterans Archive

07/08/2016 - Check Out the Highlights, Register for Webinar on the FY 2016 Continuum of Care NOFA

Here are a few highlights on policy priorities from HUD's FY 2016 Continuum of Care Program Competition Notice of Funding Avaiability.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

06/24/2016 - Matthew Doherty Stands in Unity with Orlando, Announces Central Florida Has Ended Chronic Homelessness Among Veterans

Remarks by Matthew Doherty at The Road Home event in Orlando, Florida, June 23, 2016.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

06/03/2016 - How the Gulfport/Gulf Coast Region Achieved an End to Veteran Homelessness

The Gulfport/Gulf Coast region of Mississippi achieved the goal of effectively ending Veteran homelessness. Here's their top strategies for sustaining that accomplishment.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

05/04/2016 - Innovative Ways the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles is Working to End Veteran Homelessness

In order to see big results, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles needed to think outside the box on ways to engage landlords and remove barriers to connect Veterans experiencing homelessness to housing. Carlos VanNatter, Director of Section 8 at the Housing Authority, shares their strategies.
 

Read more...

Share  | Comment

03/10/2016 - VA Promotes Vision for Grant and Per Diem Program

In an open letter to GPD grantees, VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson encouraged program providers to take steps to further align housing interventions with Housing First approaches. Joe Savage, USICH regional coordinator, explores what this means for communities.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

02/09/2016 - Driving Progress in the Year Ahead: Our Top Priorities for 2016

We know what it will take to end homelessness in our country. We've outlined our top priorities for 2016 to get us closer than ever before.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

01/06/2016 - How Southern Nevada Achieved an End to Veteran Homelessness

A breakdown of the key strategies used in Southern Nevada, a bustling community with an overall population of 603,000 people, to effectively end Veteran homelessness.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

12/17/2015 - When Homelessness Becomes Rare, Brief, & Non-Recurring: Clarifying the Federal Criteria & Benchmarks

Five clarifications on the criteria and benchmarks to end Veteran homelessness.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

12/03/2015 - Sustaining our Data-Driven Focus: Findings and Implications of Recent Data Releases

Data can help drive progress - if we use it well and wisely. That's true for communities and it is true for the multiple interagency working groups USICH convenes to make Federal policy decisions to help end homelessness across America.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

11/17/2015 - Proving the Case that We Can and Must End Homelessness

Veterans Day is a time to reflect on the sacrifices our service members have made for us, and what we owe them for that sacrifice. I think I speak for all Americans when I say that one thing we certainly owe them is the opportunity of a place to call home. The Commonwealth of Virginia, and all the other communities that have achieved this amazing milestone, have honored that commitment to Veterans and serve as profound examples to the rest of the country that we can, in fact, end homelessness.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

11/05/2015 - First Lady Michelle Obama Releases Video Encouraging Landlords to Help End Veteran Homelessness

First Lady Michelle Obama released a video to landlords today encouraging them to help communities across the country end Veteran homelessness.

“You all have the power to open doors for Vets, and give them the stability they deserve, and help our country solve an issue that has been swept under the rug for far too long,” Mrs. Obama says.  

The message asks landlords to make units available to Veterans with Federal rental assistance who haven’t yet been able find a home.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

10/22/2015 - Engaging Landlords to End Veteran Homelessness: Seattle/King County Shares What They’ve Learned

Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, with a rental market vacancy rate of just two percent in several cities throughout King County. Like many cities, these market conditions make finding a sufficient supply of affordable rental units, and the landlords willing to rent them, a considerable challenge.

Dawn Barrett, with the King County Regional Veterans Initiative, walks us through how she and her team organized a landlord engagement event, including best practices all communities can use in their efforts to partner with landlords to end homelessness.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

08/26/2015 - Good News from Philadelphia: Coordinated Services Produce Results

Army Veteran Thomas Green struggled with multiple episodes of homelessness spanning the past 20 years. Thanks to the coordination of multiple VA programs, Mr. Green now has stable housing in the Veterans Multi-Service Center's (VMC) Shelter Plus Care Program.

Learn more about Thomas Green's story and how the VMC, through coordination with other VA programs, is helping connect Veterans to housing in Philadelphia.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

06/22/2015 - USICH Releases 2015 Amendment to Opening Doors

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), along with its 19 member agencies, announced today the release of an amendment to Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

06/22/2015 - Opening Doors, as amended in 2015

On behalf of the entire team at USICH, the teams at our Federal member agencies, and our many dedicated state and local partners working tirelessly to prevent and end homelessness, I am thrilled to share with you this updated version of Opening Doors, as amended in 2015

Read more...

Share  | Comment

06/11/2015 - All In to End Veteran Homelessness City Swing: Tucson

Pima County and the City of Tucson hosted three Cabinet Secretaries and the Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness last week at Pima County’s Sullivan Jackson Employment Center, showcasing our collaboration to end Veteran homelessness and help people experiencing homelessness reenter the workforce.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

06/09/2015 - All In to End Veteran Homelessness City Swing: Las Vegas

On June 2, I gathered with Councilman Ricki Barlow, the Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, local mayors, non-profit and faith leaders, and three Federal Cabinet Secretaries from the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor for the Mayors Challenge Forum at the World Market Center.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

06/05/2015 - All In On Ending Veteran Homelessness: We Stand Together

Five years ago, the Obama Administration set an ambitious goal: to end homelessness among Veterans by the end of 2015. Many scoffed; many continue to scoff. In the face of such skepticism, we remain optimistic and focused, and know this is an historic opportunity we must seize. Veteran homelessness is not a reality we have to accept.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

06/04/2015 - Fully Utilizing HUD-VASH to Achieve the National Goal of Ending Veteran Homelessness

The HUD-VASH program has been a vital tool in our national efforts to end Veteran homelessness and since 2008, has assisted over 90,000 Veterans experiencing homelessness by providing rental assistance with case management and clinical services.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

05/01/2015 - Coordinated Entry System to End Veteran and Chronic Homelessness in Tucson

Sonia Niznik (pictured right, with her Case Manager, Rudy Trinidad) was taking shelter from Arizona’s dry summer heat at a “cooling center” provided by a local church when a team of outreach workers began conducting screenings using the Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritization and Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT). At the time, Sonia had been without a home for about three years.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

04/23/2015 - Federal Partners Move Forward on HMIS Alignment & Integration

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Community Planning and Development, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ Veteran Health Administration have recently announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that sets forth shared understanding of each agency’s respective roles and responsibilities regarding the use of Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS).

Read more...

Share  | Comment

04/22/2015 - Veterans Experiencing Homelessness a ‘stain on our nation’

Right now, in communities across our nation, there are men and women who wore our country's uniform who don't have a place to call home. Some fought in wars as far back as Vietnam or Korea, and some served more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. These brave Americans risked their lives for us and our freedom - yet, tonight, they won't even have a roof over their heads.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

04/17/2015 - Veterans and Families Focus of April 2015 Council Meeting

Veterans and families were the focus of the April 2015 Council Meeting.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

04/16/2015 - The Time to Seize Historic Opportunities is Now

It is truly an honor to have this opportunity to serve as Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and to help carry forward the great work of this agency and of my predecessors. It is also a distinct privilege to work with the fantastic team of staff we have at USICH, both the team working here in DC and our Regional Coordinators working out in the field.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

04/02/2015 - Community-Wide Partnerships and Commitments Drive Success in Central Florida

In Central Florida, the most important building blocks to success are its people. People from all walks of life including landlords, judges, outreach workers, and faith leaders have partnered with the VA Medical Center to make a difference in the lives of Veterans experiencing homelessness and the data is showing that these strong partnerships are paying off, as the number of Veterans experiencing homelessness is decreasing in Central Florida. This past month, Federal partners from HUD, USICH, and VA joined Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to celebrate the great strides the community has taken and, even more importantly, rally the community to finish the job of ending Veteran homelessness.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

03/30/2015 - The New Orleans Model for Ending Veteran Homelessness

Three months ago, after a campaign led by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans became the first major city to effectively end Veteran homelessness. During an intense six-month campaign, community partners connected every Veteran living on the street or in emergency shelter who would accept housing with an apartment of his or her own, with supportive services scaled to the Veteran’s needs. Now we actively work every day to maintain a “functional zero” in Veteran homelessness by housing any newly homeless Veteran within an average of 30 days.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

03/23/2015 - Tucson Mayor Shares His Experience Participating in the 2015 PIT Count

I was happy to welcome U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to Tucson earlier this year for our annual Point In Time Count, also known as the Street Count.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

03/16/2015 - Connecticut Launches 100-Day Effort to End Homelessness

I was proud to stand with Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman to support the March 9 launch of Connecticut’s 100-day effort across four communities to accelerate efforts to end homelessness.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

03/09/2015 - Good News from San Diego: Rapid Re-Housing Helps Veteran Get Back on Track

Before he unlocked the door to his studio apartment in September 2014, Ben Jaramillo had been homeless in the downtown area of San Diego for four years. “I was working as a carpenter, and ended up in my van when work fell flat, and then just kind of stayed there out of convenience and convenience turned into necessity and necessity turned into stuck, because of finances,” he said.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

02/27/2015 - Data Drives Results: Take Down Targets Help Communities Zero in on Ending Homelessness

In our shared mission to end homelessness, we know that data drives results. It drives the strategies and implementation of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, a framework for action for partners at every level of government and the private and nonprofit sectors.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

02/13/2015 - Veteran Homelessness in Virginia: The Ending of a Story Just Beginning

Most great stories have a beginning, middle, and end. When it comes to the story of Virginia’s efforts to end Veteran homelessness, we started with the end in mind – a vision of a Virginia where Veteran homelessness, when it does occur, is rare, brief, and non-recurring.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

02/10/2015 - At White House, Mayors Strategize on Efforts to End Veteran Homelessness

On January 23, the White House hosted over 240 mayors during the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Winter Meeting. 

Read more...

Share  | Comment

02/09/2015 - Optimizing Community Efforts to End Veteran Homelessness

To help communities optimize their current resources to accelerate progress towards ending Veteran homelessness, we have identified ten essential strategies for communities to increase leadership, collaboration and coordination among programs serving Veterans experiencing homelessness, and promote rapid access to permanent housing for all Veterans. Each strategy is accompanied by resources to help community leaders and stakeholders understand how to implement these strategies more effectively.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

02/06/2015 - Good News from Washington, DC

Today, a year after getting permanent housing and getting out of homelessness, Michael Horton – a Marine Corps Veteran and the Director of Business Development for the National Association of Concerned Veterans (NACV) – is passionate about helping other Veterans who encounter challenges in transitioning to civilian life. “If it wasn’t for my service I can’t imagine where I would be, and now that I am where I’m at and understanding the challenge not only for me but for other Veterans, [helping Veterans] is my passion and purpose,” he said. “That’s why I’m working with NACV now.”

Read more...

Share  | Comment

02/05/2015 - The President’s 2016 Budget Invests in What Works to End Homelessness

This week, President Obama put forward a 2016 Budget that again demonstrates his Administration’s deep commitment to ending homelessness.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

01/30/2015 - What It Means to End Homelessness

As I come to the end of my first week as Interim Executive Director of USICH, I am acutely aware that there are only 11 months to reach our goal to end Veteran homelessness in 2015.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

01/28/2015 - Adding Up an End to Homelessness: What Einstein Can Tell Us About Achieving Our Goals

On January 7, 2015, New Orleans announced that it had achieved an end to homelessness among Veterans. In doing so, New Orleans has become the first major city in the U.S. to achieve this goal, and well ahead of the Administration’s goal of ending Veteran homelessness across the nation by the end of 2015.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

01/08/2015 - The Work in New Orleans has been Transformative, and It Urges All of Us Forward

I was so honored to be in New Orleans yesterday, to celebrate what for me, is the biggest accomplishment to date in our fight to end homelessness among Veterans in this country.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

01/07/2015 - New Orleans Ends Veteran Homelessness One Year Ahead of Goal

Mayor Mitch Landrieu, joined by USICH Executive Director Laura Zeilinger, announced that the City of New Orleans has effectively ended Veteran homelessness, answering the call of First Lady Michelle Obama who last June called on local leaders to join the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness before the end of 2015.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

12/24/2014 - Engaging Youth, the Next Generation Working to End Homelessness

I was eight or nine when the idea of working with people experiencing homelessness first crossed my mind. It had been a long day and some relatives and I were walking to dinner. The city was crowded and as we passed under a building’s scaffolding, through the fast-walking legs of adults, I saw a man crouched by the edge of the sidewalk. What struck me was that everyone ignored him. It seemed to me that I was the only one who could see him. Once we reached the restaurant I broke into tears. When I got home I explained what happened to my mom. “Maybe you can work with the homeless when you’re older” she said.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

12/23/2014 - Our Chief Labor Is the Building of Homes

As the year draws to a close, I am struck by how far we have come in our effort to end homelessness.  2014 has indeed been a historic year.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

12/18/2014 - Lessons Learned from Developing Coordinated Entry Systems: Richmond and Los Angeles

All across the country, communities are developing coordinated entry systems to streamline and facilitate access to appropriate housing and services for families and individuals experiencing homelessness.  In the Greater Richmond area of Virginia and in Los Angeles County, California—like in other places—efforts to bring these systems online are in full swing.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

12/10/2014 - We STILL Believe in Human Rights

Around the country, more communities are working in partnership with the Federal government to develop housing crisis response systems that effectively prevent and end homelessness.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

12/08/2014 - In Utah, a History of Progress Inspires Greater Action

Many readers have likely heard about the great progress being made toward ending homelessness in Salt Lake and Utah.  Earlier this fall, I had the privilege of joining more than 475 people for the 11th Annual Utah Homeless Summit organized by Utah Department of Workforce Services’ Housing and Community Development Division.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

11/10/2014 - As a Grateful Nation, We Must End Homelessness among Veterans

On a single in January 2014, 49,993 Veterans were experiencing homelessness. This Veterans Day, in particular, is a good time to take stock of how our nation cares for the people who served. Ours is a shared obligation, to serve those who served us. We will answer our call of duty, and we hope our record of service to Veterans, in some measure, conveys our deep gratitude for the service and sacrifice of every person who wore the uniform of our great nation.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

11/01/2014 - Council Explores Progress on Ending Homelessness and Federal Action Going Forward

Just ahead of reporting remarkable advancements in ending homelessness across America, Obama Administration officials who make up the Council met on October 15, 2014, to measure the progress in the work of USICH and its partners, to discuss the data, and to chart the path forward to advance the goals of Opening Doors.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

10/31/2014 - Good News from New Orleans: Federal and Community Collaboration Helped Transform This Veteran’s Life

Mr. H. seems like a completely different person from the man I met just a few months ago.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

10/30/2014 - Partnerships for Opening Doors – Ending Homelessness through Meaningful and Sustainable Employment

“One of the best ways to eliminate homelessness is to get people jobs,” said Labor Secretary and Chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) Thomas Perez at the Partnerships for Opening Doors summit, which took place at the Labor Department's headquarters in Washington, DC, on October 16, 2014.

Co-hosted by the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), USICH and the Butler Family Fund, the day-long national summit focused on integrating employment and housing strategies to prevent and end homelessness. Leaders from 11 communities representing Workforce Investment Boards, Continuums of Care, state Workforce Development Councils, advocacy and community-based and national nonprofit organizations engaged in intensive discussions to identify key actions for Federal partners to take to improve access to meaningful and sustainable employment, skills training, and supportive training for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

10/21/2014 - Building Momentum to Abolish Criminalization of Homelessness

Every day, people who experience homelessness are subjected to local laws and ordinances that challenge their human rights and create real and lasting barriers.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

10/17/2014 - Council Explores Progress on Homelessness and Federal Action Going Forward

Just ahead of reporting remarkable advancements in ending homelessness across America, Obama Administration officials who make up the Council met on October 15, 2014, to measure the progress in the work of USICH and its partners, to discuss the data, and to chart the path forward to advance the goals of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

10/03/2014 - Your Reallocation Questions Answered, USICH Releases Reallocation Tool

This week, USICH published a tool to help CoCs better understand reallocations. Creating Effective Systems to End Homelessness: A Guide to Reallocating Funds in the CoC Program.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

09/24/2014 - Partnering with Landlords to End Homelessness

People experiencing homelessness need homes. This is the simple solution to ending homelessness, right? The complexity comes in finding, and funding, the homes. Read on to find out how stakeholders in King County, Washington, are succeeding at both.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

09/08/2014 - A Sea Change in Fresno’s Homelessness Crisis Response

The 25 Cities Effort is designed to help communities intensify and integrate their local efforts to end Veteran and chronic homelessness. 

Read more...

Share  | Comment

07/10/2014 - New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu Announces Ambitious Plan to End Veteran Homelessness

Once the city with the highest rate of homelessness in the country, today New Orleans has reduced homelessness to levels that are lower than before the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. By overcoming incredible challenges, New Orleans has shown that ending chronic and Veteran homelessness is possible in every American city.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

07/09/2014 - Supportive Services for Veteran Families: A Powerful Tool to Keep Veterans and Their Families Home

So what makes SSVF such an effective program in ending and preventing homelessness for Veteran households? There are several key ingredients.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

07/07/2014 - We Must Increase the Role We Play in Ending Homelessness

It is not enough for us to do the vitally important daily work that we do at our organizations to combat homelessness. We must also debunk the stereotypes that have sprung up about it. A fallacy that I have heard many times throughout my career is that “people choose to be homeless.” I vehemently dis­agree. People do not want to be homeless. Period. 

Read more...

Share  | Comment

07/01/2014 - Successful Partnerships through Aligned Missions and Empathetic Relationships

Like most partnerships, one of the most critical ingredients is empathy. We have to be able to understand one another's incentives and find the common ground that aligns our work together.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

06/25/2014 - Communities Come Together to Discuss Coordinated Entry

Through the 25 Cities initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, communities have been invited to convene local leaders eager to build on their successes, identify new strategies, act decisively to strengthen their coordinated response systems and, in the process, end Veteran homelessness.  To get started, teams of dedicated individuals are meeting for two-day-long intensive work sessions that drive a sophisticated planning process, resulting in specific action steps that will be carried out in months – not years.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

06/18/2014 - Four Clarifications about Housing First

In the first, of what I learned would be many, interagency meetings on chronic homelessness, Housing First adoption was discussed as a primary strategy for accelerating progress. And one of the very first tasks I was given was to help provide a clear, operational definition of Housing First.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

06/17/2014 - How to Talk About Housing First

I recently partnered with the San Diego Regional Continuum of Care Council (RCCC) to host a first-of-its kind discussion locally, billed as Housing First: A Community Conversation for San Diego.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

05/01/2014 - Federal Partners Release Final 2014 HMIS Data Standards

Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released the 2014 HMIS Data Dictionary and HMIS Data Manualwith an effective date of October 1, 2014. This joint release demonstrates the significant collaboration between the three agencies to support data collection on homelessness across their programs and systems.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

04/08/2014 - Starting Is the Starting Point for Coordinated Assessment

Setting up a coordinated assessment system is complex and doesn’t happen magically. But don’t let that stop you. Putting coordinated assessment in place doesn’t start with the challenges. It starts when communities decide that the challenges are worth facing.

Read more...

Share  | Comment

01/27/2014 - Finding Hope, a Home, and a Future

Beginning from Secretary Shinseki's promise to give all Veterans "a hope, a home, and a future, Mayor of Salt Lake City, Ralph Becker, chronicles the amazing journey of committing and then successfully ending chronic Veteran Homelessness in his city. 

Read more...

Share  | Comment

01/27/2014 - Proving It’s Possible: How Phoenix Ended Chronic Veteran Homelessness

Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix shares that through implementing coordinated partnerships and a "housing first" strategy, his city was able to successfully end chronic Veteran homelessness. 

Read more...

Share  | Comment

01/08/2014 - What Does the End of Chronic Veteran Homelessness Mean for Cities?

Elisha Harig-Blaine, Principal Associate for Housing for the National League of Cities, writes about how cities like Phoenix have made measurable progress in ending chronic Veteran homelessness and the impacts this success will have on these communities. 

Read more...

Share  | Comment

12/13/2012 - Last Council Meeting of 2012 Focuses on Veterans, the Term Ahead

On December 11, members of all Council agencies, the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and the Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget met together to recommit to the goals of Opening Doors and to chart a path forward in the second term of the Obama Administration.

Read more...

Share  | Comment