Funding Fills Critical Need, Accelerates Housing Placement for Homeless Veterans
SAN DIEGO (June 27, 2012) – In San Diego County, 35 percent of the homeless are veterans, with access to housing often delayed for many veterans lacking proper identification.
A countywide goal has been established to reduce the number of homeless veterans by at least 75 individuals in 100 days by supplying permanent housing. To support this goal, United Way of San Diego County (UWSD) will provide funding to eliminate the ID barrier.
The regional goal was established at a Rapid Results Boot Camp by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), with UWSD staff participation.
"Our aim is to expedite the housing placement process for local homeless veterans,” said United Way Commissioner Brian Maienschein. “We hope to support these veterans not only for 100 days but for the entire year.”
Currently, all mechanisms are in place to help San Diego County achieve the regional 100 days goal except one: acquiring birth certificates/IDs for veterans prescreened for the HUD Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program. HUD and VA now permit the use of discharge paperwork to process and approve housing vouchers for veterans. However, landlords and other mainstream resources like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other systems, still require a photo ID for renting an apartment, receiving services or setting up a bank account. While veterans can obtain a California ID at a reduced cost, it is often limited to those who have a birth certificate, which many veterans may not have available.
United Way funding will fill this critical need to acquire birth certificates and IDs for highly vulnerable veterans prescreened for the VASH program, allowing veterans to obtain housing 10 to 14 days faster with identification and enable veterans to access mainstream housing resources, for which an ID is often required.
Individuals selected for the 100 days project are honorably discharged vets who are among the most vulnerable throughout the region. Housing the homeless has proven to decrease police and emergency intervention, costing these systems less and improving the quality of life for each individual. This effort augments United Way’s work on Project 25 to move the most vulnerable and costly homeless individuals off the streets and into permanent homes.
The County Department of Housing and Community Development and the San Diego Housing Commission will be offering 160 housing vouchers and supportive services to San Diego County’s chronically homeless veterans. VA is providing core services including outreach, case management, mental health and other health services.
For more information about United Way’s work to end chronic homelessness, contact Commissioner Brian Maienschein at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 858-636-4141.
“Home Again” is United Way’s public engagement campaign to involve the broader community in ending chronic homelessness in San Diego County. It educates San Diegans about the proven “Housing First” model, which advocates for affordable housing first while simultaneously integrating supportive services. The campaign encourages the general public to “Learn more. Spread the word. Open a door.”
The chronically homeless are defined as people who are continuously homeless for one year or without shelter four or more times in the past three years. They often have some sort of disability. Although the chronically homeless are a minority of the overall homeless population, they drain significant resources – including legal, medical and emergency services – at a high cost to our community.
The funding United Way is raising will be spent on additional permanent supportive housing and services for the chronically homeless throughout San Diego County. For more information, visit http://www.homeagainsd.org, “like” on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.
United Way of San Diego County is a nonprofit organization that for over 90 years has improved lives by mobilizing the community and raising funds to solve Education, Income and Health issues. The United Way movement creates long lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems that prevent progress in these areas. LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to become part of the change. To learn more about the United Way, visit http://www.uwsd.org, Facebook and Twitter.