Homeless Veterans Committee Update March/April 2016

HV-1 Homeless Veterans as a “Special Needs Population”: The committee feels that, with the current push on the VA Five-Year Plan to End Veteran Homelessness, it is seeing a fair share of money going into veteran homelessness.

HV-6 VA Homeless Grant and Per Diem Funding: As recently as February, the VA has been evaluating current Grant and Per Diem Programs. The GPD office is looking into its payment method and has made great strides in streamlining the payment of per diem dollars to providers. It is also looking into the possibility of collapsing or merging multiple project numbers associated with a program under a single number.With the focus being on “Housing First” and placement into permanent housing, it would appear there will be no movement toward establishing supportive service grants to offset or augment the Service Center grantees.The committee will continue its efforts in favor of supportive service grants.

HV-7 Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) to Remain at the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) and Be Fully Funded at the Authorized $50 Million: With the creation of the “fourth arm” of the VA being proposed, the committee now supports this move, if, in fact, there would be a continuation of oversight of performance of the HVRP program. The committee will continue to push for full funding at the $50 million level. The authorized funding has been $50 million for years; however, the appropriations have leveled out at around $38 million.

HV-8 Support for Continued Funding and Oversight of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services(HUD/VASH) Program: The continued funding of the HUD/VASH Program has successfully reduced veteran homelessness.The committee continues to insist on oversight to evaluate outcomes and effectiveness.

HV-10 Continued Funding for “Special Needs” Grants Under the Department of Veterans Affairs Homeless Grants and Per Diem Program:  Extending the authority that ended on September 30, 2015, was accomplished with a renewed extension until September 30, 2016. Having to renew this valuable funding stream every year continues to be an issue. The committee would like to see this authority extended for five years.

HV-11 The Department of Veterans Affairs to Identify Best Practices Model Addressing Homeless Women Veteran Transitional Residential Treatment Programs Through VA Homeless Grants and Per Diem: The VA continues to focus on transitional residential treatment programs throughout the entire system. To the committee’s knowledge, there has not been any movement to identify best practice models.

HV-12 Extend the Department of Labor Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Criteria for Veterans Placed in “Housing First” Model:  The committee is not aware of any change to the current regulation indicating that a veteran must be homeless in order to access HVRP training. There was legislation that would have allowed those being placed through “Housing First” to gain access to training for up to six months after housing placement. However, that legislation did not move forward. The committee will continue to seek legislation that provides training for recently placed veterans.

HVC-13 Support for the Missing in America Project: The committee continues to support this effort and recognizes the many VVA chapters and state councils across the country that provide dignified burials for all those who served.

HVC-14 Support, Oversight, and Accountability of VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF): The committee continues to follow the regulations for these valuable programs. With recent changes and belt tightening, the committee feels the program is on the right track. The committee will continue to monitor the data provided by the VA on these programs. By having SSVF grantees submit extensive quarterly reports, the committee feels that those agencies that are not compliant will be weeded out quickly.

Sandy Miller, Chair

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