Defining Functional Zero: Philadelphia a step closer to ending veteran homelessness

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IN PHILADELPHIA, ZERO IS AND WILL ALWAYS BE ZERO.

Zero means that every veteran who is literally homeless will have the opportunity to find permanent housing. Zero also means that every Veteran who is at risk of homelessness will have the opportunity to prevent homelessness in their lives.  Veterans are “all persons who served in the armed forces, regardless of how long they served or the type of discharge they received.”

Philadelphia currently has the resources available to assist every homeless Veteran to find permanent housing.  Therefore, it is our goal that on or before November 11th, 2015, Philadelphia will find and offer housing to every Veteran experiencing homelessness.


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HOW DO WE DETERMINE THAT WE ARE AT ZERO?

  • If a homeless Veteran is not sheltered and not attached to a program, Philadelphia sends outreach workers and peer navigators to maintain regular contact to encourage them to come in and seek permanent housing.
  • Zero will be achieved when every homeless Veteran on our list is either “housed,” in a sheltered (transitional or emergency housing facility) awaiting permanent housing, has a permanent placement available to them or is unreachable after extraordinary means are used to reach them.

FINAL PROOF OF ZERO
TBD at the Point In Time Count in January 2016.

At that time, it is anticipated that there may be a small number of unsheltered Veterans in Philadelphia who are experiencing homelessness. There will always be a place available for them in a housing program should they choose to come in from the street. This small number of unsheltered Veterans PLUS the number of sheltered “homeless” Veterans who are in transitional or emergency housing will be the total number of homeless Veterans in Philadelphia.

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