The Mayor’s Veteran
About The Challenge
The Mayors Veteran Homelessness Challenge is a joint initiative of Joining Forces, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The goal of the Mayors Challenge is to help cities make veteran homelessness rare and brief by the end of 2015. More information about the Mayors Challenge is here.
What does it mean to make Veteran homelessness in Baltimore rare and brief?
Making homelessness rare and brief does not mean that no one will ever experience a housing crisis again. Changing economic realities, the unpredictability of life and unsafe or unwelcoming family environments may create situations where individuals, families, or youth could experience or be at-risk of homelessness.
To make homelessness rare and brief means that every community will have a systematic response in place that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible or is otherwise a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience.
Over the coming year, every veteran identified as homeless in Baltimore City and willing to accept housing will be rapidly assessed and connected to stable housing and support services needed to end their homelessness. To achieve our goal of making homelessness rare and brief for veterans by the end of 2015, Baltimore will work to ensure:
Want to learn more?
The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness is a way to solidify partnerships and secure commitments to end Veteran homelessness from mayors across the country. You can learn more about the initiative here: Mayor's Challenge.
How can I Help?
To make homelessness rare and brief requires a long-term commitment from all community stakeholders.
How is Baltimore going to make Veteran homelessness rare and brief?
Through the efforts of The Journey Home, the Mayor’s Office of Human Services, Maryland VA Medical Center, local nonprofit agencies, businesses, and philanthropy partners, a full range of housing and services will be available to meet each veteran’s unique needs.
Create New Permanent Housing Opportunities
The overall success of the Journey Home depends on Baltimore’s ability to increase the supply of housing that is in safe neighborhoods and is affordable for people with the lowest incomes. New investments, such as capital costs to build new affordable housing and permanent supportive housing units and operational costs to maintain these units are necessary.
Utilize the Housing First approach
There is a strong body of evidence that shows Housing First is an effective method for ending homelessness and the most effective intervention for addressing chronic homelessness. The Housing First approach offers individuals and families immediate access to permanent housing and combines housing with wrap-around supportive services.
Target Permanent Supportive Housing to the Most Vulnerable Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
Permanent housing is coupled with intensive support services for the most vulnerable veterans experiencing homelessness, particularly those with chronic homelessness, disabilities, mental health, or substance use issues. Participating programs include HUD-VASH, HABC Housing First Vouchers, and MOHS-funded permanent supportive housing providers.
Improve Access to Community-Based Permanent Housing
Homeless veterans able to live more independently are matched with community-based housing supports that may include case management or financial assistance based on the level of need. Housing resources include Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF), homeless rapid rehousing programs, rental assistance programs, market-rate units, Section 8, and public housing.
Connect Veterans to Transitional Housing Programs, as a Pathway to Permanent Housing
With a residency of 1-2 years, transitional housing can offer veterans experiencing homelessness the opportunity to create stability, engage in substance use treatment, build their savings, and focus on their career or education. Transitional housing is a good fit for those that are ineligible for VA or other supportive housing programs but may not have the resources yet to be in permanent market-rate or affordable housing.