November 2015 NCHV eNewsletter

NCHV eNewsletter
November 2015
Virginia is the First State in the Nation to Functionally End Veteran Homelessness
Statewide functional zero system in place, over 1,400 veterans housed in past year
On the morning of Nov. 11, 2015, at a Veterans Day ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia has been certified by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Veterans Affairs as the first state in the nation to functionally end veteran homelessness.

“Virginia is showing the nation how to create strong collaboration across towns, cities, and counties to end veteran homelessness and maintain that progress. Today, it is clear that Governor McAuliffe, the Virginia Department of Veteran Services, and community-based service providers across this state are leaders who will not lose steam. They will continue identifying veterans who need assistance and ensuring that that assistance is always available. The state of Virginia gives us a working example of a system holding a functional end to veteran homelessness. We are grateful to the partners in Virginia for their hard work and willingness to set the stage for the next round of declaring states.” said Baylee Crone, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
Support NCHV When You Shop this Holiday Season
Through AmazonSmile, Amazon donates a portion of your purchases to NCHV
As you do your holiday or everyday shopping on Amazon, don't forget to take part in AmazonSmile! Through AmazonSmile, Amazon donates a small percentage of every purchase to NCHV if you have selected us as your charity of choice. 
For more information and to select NCHV as your charity of choice when shopping on Amazon, click here
Coordinating Healthcare & Housing Resources to End Veteran Homelessness Webinar Now Available
From the Department of Housing and Urban Development
HUD's Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPs) and Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH) have posted the recently recorded ‘Hear from Your Peers’ webinar, Spotlighting Communities that are Successfully Coordinating Healthcare & Housing Resources to End Veteran Homelessness. This webinar focuses on the strong bonds forged between HUD-funded housing and service programs, as well as mainstream resources and benefits, to ensure U.S. military veterans successfully receive and maintain housing. It also provides information about Department of Veterans Affairs and locally-funded healthcare services, such as targeted case management, and substance and mental health treatment.

You can listen to peer leaders offering firsthand knowledge on how two innovative communities - Las Vegas/Clark County, NV and Seattle/King County, WA - have developed cross-systems partnerships to assist homeless and at-risk veterans with effectively accessing the housing, supportive services and healthcare resources they need. Discussants describe the approaches taken in their community to assure that all veterans are able to benefit from these resources, including permanent supportive housing. The webinar can be viewed on the course page here: Spotlighting Two Communities that are Successfully Coordinating Healthcare and Housing Resources to End Veteran Homelessness - A "Hear from Your Peers" Webinar.

Participants will learn:
  • How a VA resource center and the Continuum of Care’s homeless coordinated entry system have integrated their processes and programming to target homeless veterans and help assure that they are aware of, and directed to, all the VA, community-based and SSI/ Medicaid resources for which they are eligible.
  • Successful strategies for delivering mental health and substance use treatment, as well as coordinating other support services needed by formerly homeless veterans in permanent supportive housing.
  • Innovative strategies and approaches to community-wide collaborations to move chronically homeless veterans off the streets and into long-term, appropriate housing and healthcare services.
  • The personal story of one PSH resident who successfully negotiated this transition.
Hill Watch: Public Policy and Legislative Updates
Appropriations process unfolds: VA funding nearly final, HUD stalled
There has been big appropriations news in the nation’s capitol in recent days and weeks that directly relates to the campaign to end veteran homelessness. In late October, the President signed a congressional deal that raised the budget caps for the next two years. In effect, this legislation raised the amount of money that the federal government can spend across the board. This additional money has been spread across defense and non-defense appropriations bills, including both the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon/VA) and the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bills.
This extra leeway in spending has meant more money for these two bills, and for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development. It has not yet been finalized into which specific accounts that money will go. The Congress has until Dec. 4, 2015 to pass spending bills for the entire government for the upcoming fiscal year, in order to avert a government shutdown.
Two weeks ago, the Senate passed the MilCon/VA appropriations bill. The Senate package included the increased spending leeway from the raised budget cap that the House version did not. In order to rectify this, the two chambers will come together as a conference and hash out the details. As it stands, we do not have much certainty for the final numbers. It is important to note however, that the Senate version contained crucial report language that would prevent VA from making $44 million worth of cuts to the Grant and Per Diem program in the upcoming fiscal year. NCHV is working diligently to ensure that language makes its way into the final version of the bill.
The THUD bill has had a rockier path to passage. A similar scenario exists for the THUD bill as exists for the MilCon/VA bill; namely, that the Senate version will include more funds as a result of the budget cap deal. The THUD bill was up for passage in the Senate late last week, but the feeling about its likelihood of passage as a standalone before the Dec. 4 deadline is not certain. The current expectation is that THUD will be rolled into a larger appropriations “omnibus” bill that includes all of the unpassed appropriations bills – which is to say, all of them with the exception of MilCon/VA.
The two chambers will return to Washington the week after the Thanksgiving holiday, leaving just a few days of work before the shutdown threat deadline. NCHV will keep you updated as the situation continues to unfold, and will communicate to you the final funding levels when they are known.
VA Reports Out on Homeless Evidence and Research Synthesis (HERS) Roundtable
July roundtable focused on measuring homelessness

This past July, the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans (NCHAV) held its Homeless Evidence and Research Synthesis (HERS) roundtable discussion focused on how we measure homelessness.
NCHAV Acting Director Tom O’Toole welcomed presenters from NCHAV, Abt Associates, and UNITY of Greater New Orleans to share their research and experience with measuring homelessness. Dan Treglia, a researcher at NCHAV, provided an overview of the methodologies used in conducting PIT counts for the sheltered and unsheltered homeless population nationwide. Larry Buron, Principal Associate at Abt Associates, discussed how annual Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) national estimates are currently derived from the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. Steve Metraux, an investigator at NCHAV and Associate Professor at the University of the Sciences, shared his examination of incidence measures of homelessness among service members separating from the military since Sept. 11, 2001. Finally, Martha Kegel, Executive Director of UNITY of Greater New Orleans, described the use of person-level rosters to identify and target efforts.

Following the presentations, Dennis Culhane, NCHAV Research Director and Dana and Andrew Stone Chair in Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, led a roundtable discussion with federal agency leaders:

  • Lisa Pape, Executive Director, Veterans Health Administration Homeless Programs Office
  • Richard Cho, Senior Policy Director, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH)
  • William Snow, SNAPS Specialist, Office of Special Needs Assistance, Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Last week, the National Center released this report providing a substantial summary of the July roundtable. 
On Nov. 19, the next call in the HERS roundtable series was held – focused on aging and the homeless community.

Presenters for the roundtable included:
  • Thomas Byrne, PhD, NCHAV and University of BostonProjecting Changes in the Scope and Health Service Utilization of Older Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
  • Evelyn Hutt, MD, University of Colorado and VA Eastern Colorado Health Care SystemPlanning Palliative Care for Homeless Veterans at the End of Life  
  • Margot Kushel, MD, University of California, San FranciscoThe Aging of the Homeless Population: Emerging Clinical Issues 
  • John Schinka, PhD, NCHAV and University of Southern FloridaMortality Risk and Factors Influencing Early Death in Older Homeless Veterans
  • Baylee Crone, Executive Director, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
  • Lisa Pape, LISW, National Director, Homeless Programs, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Scott Shreve, MD, National Director of Hospice and Palliative Care, U.S. Department of Veterans

The National Center will release a report on the Nov. 19 roundtable in the coming weeks. 
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