09/20/2012 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - September 17-21

VA Announces Awards for GPD Programs, Highlighting Programs Using the Transition in Place Model 

The Department of Veterans Affairs Department of Veterans Affairs announced awardees of funds to implement transitional housing programs through VA's Grant and Per Diem program. $28.4 million was awarded to fund 38 projects in 25 states and the District of Columbia. Notably, 31 of 38 awardees committed to using the "Transition in Place" model, which allows Veterans to take over the lease of their unit instead of moving out when they have gained stability. This model creates continuity for Veterans as they stabilize their lives and ensures they have a permanent residence after receiving VA services in substance use disorder and mental health treatment. Traditional transitional housing programs require Veterans to move out of their unit after 24 months. Once the lease transitions to the Veterans name, the Veteran stays connected to VA support services to ensure ongoing needs are met to sustain a healthy lifestyle and benefit receipt when they take over the lease. 

Learn more about the grant awardees in the VA press release

Earlier this year, former Deputy Director Anthony Love blogged for USICH about the Transition in Place Model and its use in the GPD program. Read his blog here.  

Employment, the Housing Market and Homelessness

Employment is a critical component in preventing and ending homelessness, but it is one of the many pieces of the comprehensive solution required to address the challenges of homelessness. We read about this issue in an article about the rising number of people experiencing homelessness in North Dakota. The economy in North Dakota is actually the most vibrant in the United States with 3 percent unemployment, and yet the state has experienced its greatest surge in homelessness. According to another article, there are about 1,000 job openings every day in North Dakota. This begs the question, “under these conditions, how can homelessness be rising?” It is apparent that North Dakota’s housing market does not have the capacity to meet the increased housing demand caused by the influx of jobseekers coming to the state for its rich employment opportunities. For this reason, the state’s only homeless shelter west of the Red River Valley has twice the demand for its services available and must turn people away every night. 

Youth Homelessness

A goal of USICH’s Opening Doors Amendment 2012 is to increase services and connections to permanent housing for youth experiencing homelessness. This Amendment, which includes a framework for preventing and ending youth homelessness by 2020, puts a clear focus on a population of those experiencing homelessness that are not well served by adult shelters and support services, unaccompanied youth. Redesigning existing systems in communities and developing new programs for youth experiencing homelessness is pivotal to achieve our goal. 

Read about the youth framework here

Wisconsin State Legislature Representative, Chris Taylor (D-Madison) brought the issue of youth homelessness to the forefront of the public’s attention in Wisconsin this past week when she released a statement proposing the state open a shelter specifically to serve youth experiencing homelessness. She added that the length of time a child could stay at a shelter should be extended from 14 to 28 days. Her statement was released in light of the rising number of youth experiencing homelessness in Madison. 

Read the full article explaining Rep.Taylor’s statement here

Many more states and communities are receiving coverage on their efforts to improve access to youth-specific services. A partnership in Nebraska has committed to building a center and shelter specifically serving youth experiencing homelessness that will open next year. In addition, a new drop-in center for youth experiencing homelessness will open today in Michigan. 

Learn more about the Nebraska center and shelter to open next year

Learn more about the drop-in center to open today in Michigan

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