100+ Homeless Veterans in South Hampton Roads Housed During 100 Day Challenge
In alignment with the federal goal, the Commonwealth of Virginia and South Hampton Roads cities have committed to ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. Last September, the City of Virginia Beach joined the Cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Suffolk, and Western Tidewater, in the 100 Day Challenge to kick off this initiative. The initial goal was to house 125 homeless veterans in South Hampton Roads by Jan. 30, 2015. By the end of the 100 Day Challenge, the South Hampton Roads region not only met the goal, but it also exceeded it, housing or in the process of housing a total of 137 homeless veterans, including 38 veterans from Virginia Beach.
As part of the effort, housing agencies and service providers attended intensive training and worked together to develop a process for identifying and assessing the most vulnerable homeless veterans in South Hampton Roads. Housing opportunities were provided through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, which combine Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans were also housed with the help of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program, which assists homeless and low-income veteran households in obtaining and maintaining permanent housing by providing services related to rental assistance/security deposits, utility assistance, emergency and general housing, and other services. The SSVF Program is operated in Virginia Beach by the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation (VBCDC).
In keeping with our commitment to ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015, Virginia Beach is continuing this initiative with the help of local nonprofits, faith-based organizations and other community organizations and volunteers.
"Our goal is to not only ensure that all veterans in Virginia Beach are housed by the end of the year, but that they are also connected to the resources and support they need in order to retain their housing. These include case management, counseling, job training, and even transportation to interviews and appointments," said Pam Shine, Housing & Neighborhood Preservation's homeless programs coordinator. "In order to be successful, we cannot do this alone. Ending veteran homelessness is a community-wide effort and we believe that together we will be successful."
For more information on the initiative to end veteran homelessness or how to get involved, please contact Pam Shine at (757) 385-5761.