Some of that success is no doubt due to innovative veterans’ “boot camps” that prompted some communities to house more than one veteran a day for 100 days.
A December 2012 report to Congress on veteran homelessness highlighted the boot camps as an innovative program. Participating communities shortened the time it took for veterans to be housed and focused on those with the most significant needs.
The HUD-VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) program provides vouchers for permanent housing with VA supportive services to veterans who are homeless. Many communities struggle to get the vouchers to those most in need. In Atlanta, only one-quarter of HUD-VASH vouchers were issued to veterans who experienced chronic homelessness. In San Francisco, it used to take nine months from the time a veteran was issued a voucher to the time he or she leased an apartment.
“Not anymore,” noted the New York Times in writing about the success of the veterans’ boot camps. Participating communities met or exceeded their targets, some housing the equivalent of more than one veteran every single day during the 100-day challenge. In Houston and Harris County, Texas, they housed 148 veterans in 100 days; 101 of these veterans had been chronically homeless. Atlanta gave 93 percent of its HUD-VASH vouchers to veterans who were chronically homeless. San Francisco cut the time from issuance of a voucher to “lease up” by 73 percent—to just 83 days.
Click here to read the full article on SAMHSA’s Homeless Resource Center website.