National Coalition of Homeless Veterans
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Transitioning from Transitional Housing

A Guide for Grant and Per Diem Providers and other transitional housing operators

Strategic change can be tough for established programs however; change is sometimes necessary to provide the highest levels of service to veterans in our communities. Grant and Per Diem provivers have long been a part of the fabric of a community response to veteran homelessness.  As the program changes, some providers may receive less funding or opt out of the program entirely.  This guide, developed by CSH for the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and funded through the generosity of The Home Depot Foundation, offers guidance on the options providers can pursue to ensure that they address the needs of veterans they are currently serving and strategically transition their remaining resources to a programmatic structure that fits in with their community’s plan to address the needs of veterans who are experiencing homelessness and/or have low incomes.

The guide is written for providers and walks through key considerations for making changes to programs, three scenarios that a current GPD provider may be facing, and recommendations for how to move forward in each. The guide concludes with a list of resources that will help providers create and implement a transition plan for each program.

Click here to download the guide


Local Advocacy Support and Resources

 

 

On this page you will find links to a number of studies, white papers, briefs, data sets, and lists that will help you target who to talk to, what to talk about, and how to talk about it. If you don't see your issue or resource on the page, and you think it should be here, please send an email to opmainstreet@nchv.org with the information! 

 

National Issues with Local Impact

NCHV maintains brief one-page documents on programs of national importance to the movement to end veteran homelessness. These programs reach into almost every community in the country, and all are crucial to our work. If your meeting will touch on a federally funded local program, please consider sharing these one-pagers - and definitely take a look at them yourselves! They are full of good information that law-makers like to have, and can really set the stage for your local discussion. 

Useful Data

Housing Assistance Council's Veterans Data Central

HAC has produced one of the most interesting and in depth looks at veteran population data perhaps ever made available to the public. Veterans Data Central is a simple, easy to use, on-line resource that provides essential information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of veterans in the United States. You can breakout the information in any number of useful ways to produce meaningful statistics to inform your meetings. Whether you use this resource to inform your Operation Main Street meetings, or just take a look to satisfy your curiosity, NCHV cannot more highly recommend this resource. You can find it by clicking here

2016 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to Congress, Point in Time and Housing Inventory Count

If you are a part of your Continuum of Care, you likely already have access to more up to date numbers than those contained in the 2016 AHAR, but in case you don't have access to the more up-to-date numbers for your area a great fall back resource can be found in the CoC- and state-level Point in Time count information. This resource provides longitudinal data from 2007-2016 for a variety of "types" of homelessness for CoC's and states, including breakouts by chronic, veteran, and sheltered vs. unsheltered status. You can find that resource by clicking here. 2017 numbers would normally be available by now, but the administration is taking much longer than anticipated pulling the more recent report together. 

National Alliance to End Homelessness's State of Homelessness Report

The State of Homelessness in America 2016 is the sixth in a series of reports charting progress in ending homelessness in the United States. It examines trends in homelessness, populations at risk of homelessness, and homelessness assistance in America. The website and report contain tons of useful information in easily accessible format, including share-able maps and graphics. NAEH also publishes excellent resources on topics like unsheltered homelessness


 

Targeting Assistance

The Obama administration popularized an initiative known as the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, which had local elected officials sign a pledge to end veteran homelessness in their communities. Whether your Mayor is or is not a member can be crucial information that influences how you approach him or her about the issue. The National League of Cities has maintained a list of the Mayors and other elected's that are still signatories to the Challenge. Visit the NLC's Mayors Challenge webpage to see the participant directory.

Local Issues and Resources

You are all experts in your local communities. Even so, it is always nice to have some national data or research to help prove your point in these meetings - or even to see best practices ideas from other communities that are experiencing the same road blocks. In this section, we have highlighted a few of most common issue areas that local communities face. 

  • Landlord Engagement

Finding landlords who are willing to rent to the soon-to-be-formerly homeless can be very challenging - even with the reassurance that comes with participating in programs like HUD-VASH. This is a problem nation-wide. Luckily however, there are resources to help you improve your relationships with landlords - many of which include leveraging your local government either formally or informally. You can look at the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness's resource page on this topic, or else delve into the National League of Cities excellent landlord engagement guide.

  • Overcoming NIMBYism

NCHV's most recent Annual Conference was titled "Yes, In My Back Yard" for a reason; oftentimes the philosophy of "Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY)" can throw up road blocks in the creation of affordable housing or service locations. This is a nearly universal issue that most developers, service providers, and housing providers have or will deal with. Luckily, due to how common this is, there are a number of resources to help guide you as you deal with your own local NIMBY groups. Sometimes a better understanding of the morality playing field can prove useful, and sometimes using proper messaging and the media can help tip the scales. But it's always smart to learn from those who have gone before

  • Encampment Evictions

Like much other homelessness criminalization policy, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has reported an increase of encampment criminalization, with 33% of cities banning camping city-wide and 50% banning in certain public places.  The policies lead to forceful enforcement, with “homeless sweeps” where law enforcement officers, working with city officials, clear out an encampment with little to no notice.

These sweeps often lead to homeless individuals losing some of their few possessions, especially those of value.  In Honolulu, 57% of homeless individuals reported a loss of identification, 40% reported loss of tents, and 21% reported a loss of medicine.  These losses can cause individuals to be further entrenched in homelessness, as identification is often required when applying for jobs and government benefits.  Furthermore, the loss of medication and tents can endanger the welfare of homeless individuals.

Indianapolis has instituted a more balanced policy to protect those living in encampments.  Before executing an eviction, the city must provide adequate housing alternatives.  Furthermore, the city must provide 15 days’ notice before beginning the eviction, offer to store personal belongings, and make all aware of housing options. If you would like to read more, and work towards a solution in your community, click here for a National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) report, and here for a resource from the Seattle University School of Law.

  • Housing Discrimination

Housing discrimination pertains to the policies that bar people from receiving housing assistance.  Under federal law, people can barred from housing assistance for only a few certain reasons: for example, those with a record of manufacturing methamphetamine in public housing, and those on a life-time sex offender registry.  However, Public Housing Authorities and local governments are free to institute other policies.  Some municipalities bar those with criminal records from housing assistance.

Due to other anti-homeless laws, many homeless people may have already built a criminal record.  Barring them from housing assistance only exacerbates and adds to the population of chronically homeless people in the area.

If you would like to read more, and work towards a solution in your community, click here for a National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) report.

  • Affordable Housing

We all know that affordable housing is as important as it is hard to locate, and there are no fast or easy solutions to a lack of it in a community. But, there are resources that exist to help bolster your arguments during your local advocacy meetings. One such resource is the National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual Out of Reach report, which documents the gap between renters' wages and the cost of rental housing. The 2017 report can be accessed here, and here you can find an interactive webpage that allows you to search your areas data.

  • Food Sharing

Food sharing programs are food banks, soup kitchens, or other programs designed to distribute food to the homeless.  6% of the cities studied by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty have outlawed these practices in public places.

Criminalizing food sharing in public spaces causes more harm than any perceived good.  Not only does it deny homeless individuals a meal, and complicate outreach programs, but it also opens service providers and philanthropy to potential legal liability.

If you would like to read more, and work towards a solution in your community, click here for a National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) report, and here for an excellent report on this issue by the National Coalition for the Homeless.

  • Living in Vehicles

Many homeless people find shelter in their cars after getting evicted.  Over the past 10 years, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has reported an increase in the criminalization of living in a vehicle by 143%, with the current rate at 39% of the cities they studied.

The criminalization of living in a vehicle takes away any lawful means of shelter.  Those punished for living in their vehicles may suffer financial consequences that further entrench them in homelessness.  Furthermore, the criminalization of living in a vehicle could cause an increase in encampments, or other street homelessness – merely diffusing the issue rather than addressing it.

If you would like to read more, and work towards a solution in your community, click here for a National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) report, and here for an older piece of academic literature from the University of Miami Law Review that contains a still-relevant section on this issue.

  • Opioid Use and Homelessness

"The issue of opioid abuse has risen to a level of national crisis as the number of people abusing prescription drugs and heroin has dramatically risen, and the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths has tripled since 2000. While the epidemic is notable for affecting people from any race, gender, socioeconomic status, or other identifier, its effects are felt in unique and notably harmful ways by people who are experiencing homelessness." This is from the National Alliance to End Homelessness's report on opioid use and homelessness, which can be found here. This is another instance of a pervasive, nation-wide problem with few easy solutions; but having a report to back up your arguments may prove to change some minds. 

  • Panhandling Laws

The most common place to panhandle is outside a business, where people passing by are regularly accessible.  27% of cities have prohibited it city wide, and 61% have banned it in certain public spaces. Cities with a ban in certain public spaces can often be as damaging as a city-wide ban
Various lawsuits have successfully struck down panhandling laws in certain municipalities.

If you would like to read more, and work towards a solution in your community, click here for a National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) report.

 


Operation Main Street

November 12-18, 2017
#OpMainStreet 

 

A nation-wide week of local advocacy on behalf of homeless veterans. 

 

Operation Main Street is the first ever NCHV led, nation-wide advocacy push. Much like a Hill Day when members come to DC to talk to their Representatives and Senators about veteran issues, Operation Main Street is a grass-roots advocacy program, designed to bring that same idea to the Homefront. The week of Veterans Day veteran service providers, CoC partners, and clients all across the country will take meetings with Mayors, City Council Members, County Executives, and even state level legislators or executives to tell those elected officials what needs to be done in their own back yard to solve veteran homelessness. These topics of discussion can be anything, from affordable housing creation or preservation, to criminalization, or court barriers. You can even talk about how national level changes in policy affect your communities – whatever it is that you need in your community, you should talk about. 

We already have hundreds of people signed up for this exciting week of action! Won't you join them? 

 

There are no requirements to take part. All it takes to participate is the commitment to schedule one meeting with a local elected official the week following Veterans Day.  

How can you get involved?

There are only three very simple things you need to do to be a part of Operation Main Street:

  1. Email your name, organization, and zip code to opmainstreet@nchv.org (if you haven't already signed up)
  2. Schedule and attend a meeting with a local government official the week of Nov 12-18 and let them know what homeless veterans in your community need!
  3. Post about your meeting on social media, using the hashtag #OpMainStreet. And remember, a picture is worth a thousand words!


How can NCHV help you?

NCHV is here to help you prepare for these meetings, even if you have never been an advocate before, and help your local meetings make noise on a national scale. We are offering webinars on how to do advocacy successfully and impactfully, and connections to research and white papers to assist you in informing your conversation. The week of the events, NCHV will also be acting as a force multiplier to amplify the message across social media and the traditional press. Each meeting that is scheduled for this week will be important locally - but when seen together as a movement, they are all important nationally.

  • Training for first-time advocates:

NCHV hosted a local advocacy-focused training webinar on Friday, November 3, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. EST. Click here to watch this webinar training. Even if you have advocated before, you may find this webinar useful. We will discuss strategies for engaging elected officials and the press, as well as basic advocacy tips. 

You might find a national advocacy training webinar from 2016 useful as well, especially if you are looking for help with federal advocacy. You can re-watch this webinar by clicking here.

  • Advocacy support & resources:

Know your way around advocacy, but looking for some resources to help guide your targeting, topics of conversation, or ask? Click here to go to the Operation Main Street advocacy resource page, where you will find research abstracts, data sources, national policy briefs, and targeting help. 

 

 


Write-Ups

NCHV Articles on Congressional Activity and Policy Issues

2018

2017


2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

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2007


Position Statements

NCHV's position statements provide justification for the nation's most critical homeless veteran programs. Each paper, downloadable in PDF format, provides an overview of the program's purpose and function, explains its importance to the veteran service provider community, and recommends a congressional course of action.



 

Grant and Per Diem Program

The Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has been the foundation of community-based homeless veterans assistance since 1992. With nearly 15,000 beds nationwide serving up to 30,000 men and women each year, the GPD Program is often the first and most significant step toward recovery for veterans experiencing homelessness. By helping homeless veterans obtain stable housing, health services and employment and other income supports, the GPD Program has helped hold the line against increases in veteran homelessness despite continued economic stagnation, the housing crisis, high veteran unemployment, and the complete withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq.

The effects of combat exposure typically do not manifest themselves right away. By maintaining the infrastructure of the homeless veteran response system – with the Grant and Per Diem Program at its core – and ramping up VA’s ability to prevent veteran homelessness from ever happening (see NCHV’s SSVF Program policy statement), America can ensure that returning veterans will always have the support they need in times of crisis.

To download this full paper, click here.

Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program

The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is the only national, veteran-specific program available to help at-risk men and women veterans from ever becoming homeless. The program is also the most suitable resource for homeless veterans who are able to quickly transition out of homelessness into permanent housing.

SSVF grantees are nonprofit, community-based organizations that provide very low-income veterans and their families with services in the following areas: health, legal, child care, transportation, fiduciary and payee, daily living, obtaining benefits, and housing counseling. The program also allows for time-limited payments to third parties – e.g. landlords, utility companies, moving companies, and licensed child-care providers – to ensure housing stability for veteran families. SSVF funds are leveraged with local Continuums of Care and other community partners at no extra cost to the federal government.

To download this full paper, click here.

HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program is the only federal program designed to end chronic homelessness for veterans and their families. The men and women who enroll in the program achieve independent living by way of veteran-specific HUD Section 8 housing vouchers, which are linked to comprehensive VA case management and counseling services.

Case management is an integral part of the permanent supportive housing program. The vast majority of veterans who receive HUD-VASH vouchers have serious mental illness, substance use disorder histories, physical disabilities, or co-occurring disorders. Veterans create individualized “Housing Recovery Plans” with their case managers, focusing on long-term recovery and full integration into their communities. These plans involve health care, resolving legal and financial issues, and addressing employment and income needs.

To download this full paper, click here.

Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program

The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) is the nation’s only employment program wholly dedicated to serving homeless veterans, most of whom have serious and multiple barriers to re-entering the workforce. Administered by U.S. Department of Labor-Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL-VETS) for over two decades, HVRP presently serves about 16,000 veterans each year. These men and women find employment at an average wage of $10.48 per hour at an average cost of $3,295 per placement.

In order for HVRP grantees to receive renewed funding, they must guarantee job placement and retention services for homeless veterans. These veterans benefit from wrap-around supports, as most grantees also provide residential stability, health services and counseling. Additionally, successful programs leverage local service networks without incurring extra costs.

To download this full paper, click here.

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH)

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) is an independent establishment within the executive branch of the federal government. They were originally created by Congress in the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 to coordinate the federal response to homelessness and to create a national partnership between every level of government and the private sector aimed at ending homelessness. Since their creation the body has grown to include nineteen member agencies from the federal government, and have become a leader in the movement to end veteran homelessness.

The small professional staff of policy experts and analysts at USICH is directed by a Council comprised of Cabinet Secretaries and agency heads, and their work cuts across these agencies and departments. USICH is the body which brings together different agencies with different missions, but which all have potential impacts in the attempt to end homelessness; USICH is able to convene them and set policy priorities and shared objectives to actualize the plan to end homelessness. Furthermore, from their unique cross-cutting position, USICH is able to identify and prevent duplication of services that would otherwise waste effort and resources. Finally, USICH is focused on cost-effective solutions to ending homelessness which drives them to identify and support policies that best husband tax-payer money while still achieving superior results in our efforts to end homelessness among veterans and for everyone.

To download this full paper, click here


Active Legislation

NCHV reports on legislation in the United States Congress that would significantly impact veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This page lists bills that have been introduced in the 115th Congress, which convened in January 2017 and will run through calendar year 2018. Each bill number links to its summary page on the Library of Congress website, where the bill's full text and record of congressional action can be accessed. For more information on legislation, go to http://thomas.loc.gov.

  • To contact your Senator, click here.
  • To contact your Congressperson, click here.
  • To review legislation introduced in the 114th Congress, click here
  • To review legislation introduced in the 113th Congress, click here
  • To review legislation introduced in the 112th Congress, click here.
  • To review legislation introduced in the 111th Congress, click here.



House of Representatives bills

H.R.104: Helping Homeless Veterans Act of 2017
Rep. Brownley, Julia [D-CA-26], Rep. Jayapal, Pramila [D-WA-7], Rep. Vargas, Juan [D-CA-51], Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]  01/03/2017

  • This bill makes the following Department of Veterans Affairs programs and services permanent: (1) homeless veterans reintegration programs, (2) referral and counseling services for veterans at risk of homelessness who are transitioning from certain institutions (including penal institutions), (3) financial assistance for supportive services for very low-income veteran families in permanent housing, (4) a grant program for homeless veterans with special needs, (5) treatment and rehabilitation for seriously mentally ill and homeless veterans, (6) housing assistance for homeless veterans, and (7) the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans.

H.R.107: Homeless Veterans with Children Reintegration Act  
Rep. Brownley, Julia [D-CA-26] 1/3/2017

  • This bill directs the Department of Labor to give homeless veterans with dependent children service priority under homeless veterans reintegration programs.

H.R.734: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a refundable credit against tax for landlords of veterans receiving rental assistance under the Veterans Affairs Supported Housing program
Rep. Brownley, Julia [D-CA-26]  1/30/2017

  • This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a refundable tax credit for the owner of a dwelling unit that is occupied by a veteran on whose behalf rental assistance is provided by the Veterans Affairs Supported Housing program under the United States Housing Act of 1937. The credit is equal to 10% of the amount of rental assistance received by the person for the year.

H.R.1145: Housing for Homeless Students Act of 2017
Rep. Ellison, Keith [D-MN-5], Rep. Paulsen, Erik [R-MN-3] 2/16/2017

  • This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code, with respect to the low-income housing tax credit, to qualify low-income building units that provide housing for homelesschildren, youth, or veterans who are full-time students for the credit. To qualify for the credit, the full-time student must have been a homeless child or youth during any portion of the seven-year period prior to occupying the housing unit or a homeless veteran during any portion of the five-year period prior to occupying the unit.

H.R.1875: Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund Act of 2017
Rep. Schneider, Bradley Scott [D-IL-10], Rep. Murphy, Tim [R-PA-18], Rep. Deutch, Theodore E. [D-FL-22], Rep. Frankel, Lois [D-FL-21], Rep. Shea-Porter, Carol [D-NH-1], Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9], Rep. Lowenthal, Alan S. [D-CA-47], Rep. Loebsack, David [D-IA-2], Rep. Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ-3] 4/4/2017

H.R.1993: Homeless Veterans Legal Services Act
Rep. Beatty, Joyce [D-OH-3], Rep. Stivers, Steve [R-OH-15], Rep. Tiberi, Patrick J. [R-OH-12] 4/6/2017

  • This bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to enter into partnerships with public or private entities to fund a portion of the legal services such entities provide to homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness related to housing, family law, income support, and criminal defense.

H.R. 4451 Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act
Rep. Wenstrup, Brad (R-OH-3), Rep. Brownley, Julia (D-CA-26)

  • This bill reauthorizes Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) homeless veterans reintegration programs through FY2022. The bill includes among those for whom job training, counseling, and placement services are to be provided to expedite their reintegration into the labor force: (1) veterans participating in the VA supported housing program for which rental assistance is provided under the United States Housing Act of 1937, (2) Indians who are veterans receiving assistance under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996, (3) veterans who are transitioning from being incarcerated, and (4) veterans participating in the VA's rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention program.

 

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Senate bills

S. 112: Creating a Reliable Environment for Veterans' Dependents Act
Sen. Heller, Dean [R-NV], Sen. Murray, Patty [D-WA] 1/12/2017

  • This bill provides that the services for which a recipient of a grant under the VA comprehensive service program for homeless veterans may receive per diem payments may include furnishing care for a dependent under the care of a veteran who is receiving services.

S. 434: Housing for Homeless Students Act of 2017
Sen. Franken, Al [D-MN], Sen. Portman, Rob [R-OH] 2/16/2017

  • This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code, with respect to the low-income housing tax credit, to qualify low-income building units that provide housing for homelesschildren, youth, or veterans who are full-time students for the credit. To qualify for the credit, the full-time student must have been a homeless child or youth during any portion of the seven-year period prior to occupying the housing unit or a homeless veteran during any portion of the five-year period prior to occupying the unit.

S.743: A bill to strengthen the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
Sen. Reed, Jack [D-RI], Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME]  3/28/2017

S. 1072: Homeless Veterans Prevention Act of 2017
Sen. Burr, Richard [R-NC],  Sen. Hirono, Mazie [D-HI], Sen. Tester, Jon [D-MT], Sen. Manchin, Joe [D-WV]  5/9/2017

  • Allow per diem payments through the GPD program to be made to support dependents who accompany their veteran parent in their homelessness,
  • Create an expansive public-private partnership to expand the legal services available to homeless veterans across the country,
  • Provide dental care through VA to homeless/ formerly homeless veterans living in HUD-VASH, a domiciliary, or grant and per diem program, among other locations, and
  • Increase the authorization limit for the SSVF program to $500 million, opening the door for the renewal of surge grants set to expire at the end of this year.

S. 1473 Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act
Sen. Boozman, John (R-AR), Sen. Tester, Jon (D-MT)

  • This bill reauthorizes Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) homeless veterans reintegration programs through FY2022. The bill includes among those for whom job training, counseling, and placement services are to be provided to expedite their reintegration into the labor force: (1) veterans participating in the VA supported housing program for which rental assistance is provided under the United States Housing Act of 1937, (2) Indians who are veterans receiving assistance under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996, (3) veterans who are transitioning from being incarcerated, and (4) veterans participating in the VA's rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention program.

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Congressional Testimony

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans is frequently called upon by the United States Congress to weigh in on pending legislation and federal budget proposals. This page contains a record of NCHV's written testimonies submitted to Congress and other legislative bodies where noted.

 

2018

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

Archived Testimony


1730 M Street NW, Suite 705  |  Washington, DC  |  20036  |  t-f. 1.800.VET.HELP  |  v. 202.546.1969  |  f. 202.546.2063  |  info@nchv.org