05/10/2012 - Transitioning to stability: VA provides incentive for Transition in Place model

Transitional housing for people who are experiencing a housing crisis has taken many shapes in communities over the last 20+ years.  In its traditional form, transitional housing is time limited housing (from two weeks to two years) that includes various levels of assistance to help the individual or family transition into permanent housing.  It is often delivered in single household units or in smaller congregate settings with intensive services that are generally mandatory for the tenant/client to stay in the housing.  It is an expensive intervention but can represent a significant part of the crisis response portfolio, including those units targeted at Veterans, victims of domestic violence, and youth.  

However, as communities look to resolve rather than manage homelessness, they are retooling their resources to include models that have housing stability as its focus. A model the VA and USICH are encouraging is a Transition in Place Model. This allows a Veteran to transition their current transitional unit  into a permanent residence once they are connected to mainstream community supports and it has been determined the level of intensive services are no longer necessary for stability. Using this model, once the client is able to forego intensive services they can stay in the unit where they are currently living.

Recently, the VA released a Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Notice of Funding Availability that is incentivizing programs that implement this Transition in Place (TIP) model.  This model provides eligible Veterans with housing stability as they are transitioning and focuses on moving the Veteran into permanent housing as quickly as possible. Once a Veteran has worked with their GPD provider to identify mainstream supports and systems and receives appropriate services for any health issues they may have, the Veteran then assumes the lease or other long term agreement which allows the unit to become the Veteran’s permanent housing.  Once the Veteran takes on the lease, programs should be coordinating with the VA so that those Veterans who may still be in need of services are linked to other VA services to help the Veteran maintain their housing.   By quickly transitioning, more Veterans can be served and exit homelessness.

Communities that are making progress in reducing homelessness have housing stability as the goal of their crisis response system.  The goal with any model, especially this model, is to make sure that individuals experiencing homelessness are exiting homelessness quickly as they are able.  Optimally an individual with no other issues will be able to go right into permanent housing; but if that is not available, they need to be able to access shelter or housing that is openly accessible, meets them where they are, and has the goal of getting them into permanent housing quickly.  Transition in Place allows for individuals the stability and community integration that resolves their homelessness and not just manage it.

The GPD program released the previously mentioned NOFA incentivizing providers to implement Transition in Place programs at the beginning of March. The specific funding in this NOFA will be able to fund roughly 600 Veterans in GPD programs, and the deadline is May 30. VA is also holding one more conference call to answer any questions applicants may have about their application.  Learn about the requirements for this application and apply here.

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