Will End Veteran Homelessness in Philadelphia this Veterans Day

Philadelphia, PA, April 6, 2016 – PhillyVetsHome2015, a collaborative venture of government agencies and private non-profit organizations will achieve the goal of “functional zero” regarding veteran homelessness in Philadelphia on, or before, Wednesday, November 11th, 2015.

This declaration means a great deal for our city. It means every veteran who has crossed our coalition’s path since August 2013 will be housed. Moreover, the resources will be in place in Philadelphia for any future veteran who experiences homelessness to find a home. After November 11th, 2015, if homelessness should occur in a veteran’s life, it will be rare, brief and non-reoccurring.

This does not mean that there will never be a homeless veteran on the streets of Philadelphia, but that a veteran in transition will be able to easily access a system of support to find and maintain housing should he or she desire it.

We have accomplished this goal by housing 862 homeless veterans since August 2013 and connecting an additional 560 Veterans with the resources needed to find and maintain a home.  We will reach functional zero when all of the 560 veterans who are “connected with a program” achieve their housing goals.

We have also built a collaboration of government agencies to support the longevity of this initiative.

The coalition, using resources like Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and HUD-VASH (Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing) has worked tirelessly to meet the specific needs of each Veteran who crosses our doorstep.  We have developed and maintain a “by-name” list of every homeless veteran in Philadelphia and it will track progress towards the goal of stable housing for each homeless veteran.

On April 16th, 2015 all involved agencies, along with representatives and community stakeholders, will gather for the final “homestretch” meeting to plan the months to come as we move toward this monumental milestone for the City of Philadelphia and veterans in the community.

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Philadelphia Continues in Ending Veteran Homelessness

Philadelphia Continues in Ending Veteran Homelessness

Philadelphia, PA – January 9, 2015 –Philadelphia is closer than ever to eliminating veteran homelessness.  Steve Culbertson, Director of Veteran and Housing Programs at Impact Services Corporation noted “Through a unique collaboration in the City, we are more than 50% of the way toward the goal of ending veteran homelessness in Philadelphia.  We have housed 620 veterans since August of 2013. We will fight for every vet who needs housing to find a decent affordable place to live. It is the least we can do for their service.”

Philadelphia is part of the VA “25 Cities Initiative” which aims to build on President Obama’s 2009 announcement to end Veteran Homelessness by 2015. As cities with high veteran populations successfully stamp out veteran homelessness, as the City of New Orleans announced last week, the once wildly ambitious goal appears all the more attainable for Philadelphia.

Martha Kegel, Director of UNITY, the organization that led the final push in providing housing for homeless veterans in New Orleans, shed light on how this can be achieved in priority cities, “Of course you understand that going forward, it’s not like no one is ever going to become homeless again, but it’s about having a rapid response system in place so that the number of veterans who are in homelessness at any given point is never more than what you can house that month.” The VMC and other organizations spearheading the initiative locally, are following a similar model and after tremendous progress, expects to end veteran homelessness in Philadelphia by the end of this year.

About the Veteran’s Multi Service Center (VMC) – Since 1980, the VMC has existed solely to “serve those who served” this great nation and their families. We are the only non-profit agency in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas that provides a comprehensive resource center available to all Veterans In 2014 alone, the VMC housed over 500+ veterans and families and has boosted public discussion of Veteran Homelessness through their #RewriteTheCardboard social media campaign. For more information about the VMC, visit: www.VMCenter.org

About Impact Services – For 39 years, Impact Services, a non-profit in the Kensington area of Philadelphia, has worked to address the root causes of poverty and alleviate neighborhood distress. Impact’s Veteran Services department serves over 300 veterans a year offering homeless and disadvantaged veterans comprehensive sets of housing, employment, and supportive services.

About the City’s Office of Supportive Housing –The mission of the Office of Supportive Housing is to assist individuals and families in moving towards independent living and self-sufficiency in safe and stable housing through Philadelphia’s homeless Continuum of Care.

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Published January 9, 2015

WE HAVE EXCEEDED 100 DAY GOAL

Philly Vets Home 2015 set a 100 Day Goal to house 134 veterans, 34 of the veterans would be chronically homeless, and to assess 30 of the veterans using the VI-SPDAT tool by February 28, 2015.

Well . . . we are excited to announce that we have surpassed our goal by housing 142 veterans in 100 days— 61 were chronically homeless, and 30 veterans were assessed in VI-SPDAT

100 Day Goal UPDATE

Philly Vets Home has been working tirelessly in trying to reach our 100 Day Goal! We set our goal at 134 housed and of those, 30 will be chronically homeless.

February 18, 2015 was Day 90 and our current numbers are 122 Move-ins, of those 55 are chronically homeless!

We are getting close! Let’s keep up the great work Team!

Piloting Coordinated Assessment

To build upon the success and to accelerate our progress in ending Veteran homelessness, we need to continue to work together to ensure that we have coordinated, community-based systems for preventing homelessness among Veterans and for assisting Veterans experiencing homelessness to access appropriate housing and service options within Philadelphia. This system must include finding and assessing the needs of Veterans experiencing homelessness, providing them with appropriate services, and helping them navigate quickly through the steps to move from streets and shelters to permanent housing.

 

For all the amazing folks out there who are completing the VI-SPDAT, thank you!

 

Helpful documents:

 

The Match Initiation Form and the Vacancy Form are now live.  We will be editing these forms over the next couple weeks to make sure they fit with Philly’s needs.

We are all in this together

 

Four days left in our second 100-day sprint.  We set the goal of housing 189 veterans experiencing homelessness, of which 75 were chronically homeless, of while 25 were currently unsheltered.  How did we do in reaching our numbers goal?!?!?!  As the numbers roll in, we are getting so close.  We will probably reach our chronic goal but be just shy of our overall goal and unsheltered goal.  But honestly, the progress on the SYSTEM is not captured in these numbers and will continue.

Is there still work to be done?  Absolutely!

Are you going to do a third 100-day goal?  Absolutely!

The Philly Vets Home team was honored to attend the 25 Cities Launch and is currently in a 45-day planning phase for a community launch on a coordinated assessment and housing placement system in June.  We are also aligning with three counties surrounding Philadelphia who launched their own DIY Boot Camp.  The Philly facilitator worked with the Coatesville VAMC and local SSVF grantee to lead the Coatesville Boot Camp.

 

Of course the work continues.  But there are new procedures and policies locked in place as we ratchet up our ability to END Veteran homelessness in Philadelphia. 

 

Join us!

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We are all in this together – Year of the Veteran

It’s the Year of the Veteran!  Our team has already been thrilled at the success of increasing the housing placement rate for Veterans experiencing homelessness.  We have more work to do and are even more inspired.

There has been some amazing support in advocating for, claiming, and celebrating the Year of the Veteran.  Congrats to all who have been a part of it.  But now it is up to all of us to make the resolutions in the charter a reality.  

First there was the Presentation on February 27th at City Hall when the Resolution was read. Second, there was the Celebration at the Liberty Museum.  What’s next?

As a strong coalition of the major players in ending homelessness among our Veterans, we are determined to continue to increase the housing placement rate, especially for those who are chronically.  We are aligning outreach efforts across organizations and with the City.  We are looking at all available housing resources and making sure the resources are there to make an apartment a home and keep people housed.  

We are looking at the system we have in place and all coming together to make sure that no one who served this country is without a place to call home.  More work to come!

Philadelphia Inquirer article highlights team member: Pathways to Housing!

Philadelphia Inquirer article highlights team member: Pathways to Housing!

The article states: “In Philadelphia, a coalition of nonprofit service providers works with the VA to address the local needs of veterans.”  That is right and we are called Philly Vets Home.  We are re-launching for another 100-day sprint starting next Thursday with a new goal and additional action items.  We are thrilled to have Pathways to Housing PA on the team.

 

The article goes on to explain Pathways: “a housing-first specialist that has been operating in Philadelphia for five years. The agency works with 130 vets, about half of whom are younger men and women from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, said Christine Simiriglia, executive director of the local office of Pathways.”

 

Great work Team!!!

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140103_Center_in_Phila__helps_battle_veteran_homelessness.html#5B3kouiJIHoDu2B1.99

 

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Veteran Wayne Jones (left) and property owner, Ron Egan, signing an apartment lease.

Just in time for the holidays, three Veterans in Philadelphia received the ultimate gift — a place of their own to call home.  Staff at the Philadelphia Housing Authority and a local property owner worked at lightening speed to house three veterans before the holidays. “Being part of the process, especially during this time of the year, makes the hard work worth it,” said Bret Holden, the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Director of Eligibility and Special Programs.  Mr. Wayne Jones and two other Veterans signed their leases on Friday, December  20th.  Mr. Jones said he is happy to be in his new home before the holidays. Mr. Ron Egan, the property owner, has been so motivated by the HUD-VASH program, that he wants to purchase additional properties to rent to veterans.  Mr. Egan not only filled his vacant units, but he personally drove to pick up the veterans, transport them to see the units, and complete the paperwork.  His dedication to housing Veterans is inspirational.  

The success in expediting the leasing procedures for these veterans is just a fraction of what we are doing at Philly Vets Home. Starting January 9, we are re-launching with a SECOND 100-DAY GOAL to to house 189 veterans in 100 days—targeting 75 who have been chronically homeless and 25 individuals who are currently unsheltered.