Earlier this week President Obama signed the comprehensive bipartisan bill entitled “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.” This legislation addresses issues for Veterans in areas of health (including extending rural health access), loan guarantees and benefits, protects the memorial services for Veterans, and compensates Marine families who were affected by contaminated well water at Camp LeJuene. Notably, this legislation fully renews existing funding for pivotal programs for Veterans experiencing homelessness, such as HUD-VASH, the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, and the Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program. The bill would also modify the existing HUD-VASH program to open up more contract case management opportunities for Veterans who receive a HUD-VASH voucher. This would ensure that an eligible Veterans who has an existing case manager and received a HUD-VASH voucher would be able to continue with that case manager once they are housed.
The continuance of these programs, and amendments to make programs serving vulnerable Veterans more flexible and responsive to their needs illustrates a continued commitment to ending Veterans homelessness by 2015. Yesterday in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Evidence Matters publication, the focus was on the ways interagency groups and stakeholders are using data to drive performance. The article discusses the Department’s HUDStat system, a data and performance monitoring system that works with HUD and VA field staff to determine how programs like HUD-VASH are operating on the ground. From this information, all stakeholders in the program can work to identify issues and revise strategy on the ground to be more effective, notably their work in Los Angeles and Jacksonville, Florida. The article details the challenges facing Veterans experiencing homelessness, the programs available to support them, and details the ways the Administration is working together in the HUDStat process to continue to make progress on Veterans homelessness.
This issue of Evidence Matters also focuses on how to use data to understand homelessness for the entire population, including a detailed description of HMIS and the Point in Time Count. This issue also explores innovative health and housing integration programs for those experiencing chronic homelessness.