Massachusetts Releases Statewide Plan to Prevent & End Homelessness Among Veterans
On Tuesday, March 12, Massachusetts officials unveiled a statewide integrated plan to prevent and end homelessness among veterans over the next three years. TAC Senior Associate Jim Yates was among the members of a Steering Committee charged with drafting the strategies and goals included in the plan, and attended the formal release ceremony held Tuesday afternoon at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans in Boston. Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray attended the event and highlighted key details of the plan.
The specific goals addressed by the plan include re-housing and stabilizing veterans who become homeless, keeping those most at risk of homelessness stably housed, increasing veteran's access to benefits and resources, and aligning and integrating federal, state, and community resources to support veterans. Highlights of the plan include strategies to:
- Reduce the number of homeless veterans by 1,000 by the end of 2015.
- End chronic homelessness among veterans, going from 450 to 0, by the end of 2015.
- Access 1,000 units of permanent housing to meet plan goals by end of 2015 - including 700 new HUD-VASH vouchers, 250 new units of housing through Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) initiatives for chronically homeless veterans, and subsidies through DHCD for 50 non-VA eligible chronically homeless veterans.
- Support the VA's efforts to build community capacity to serve veterans where they live by contracting for HUD-VASH case management, peer support and other services with Department of Veterans Services (DVS) and community-based nonprofits.
- Expand partnerships to increase access to housing and service resources.
- Develop regional lists of homeless veterans to prioritize resources and support services, track progress and outcomes for specific individuals, and to understand the scope of veterans who are newly homeless and accessing systems of care.
- Launch a demonstration project to test the feasibility of conversion strategies that allow providers to use existing veteran's emergency and transitional housing resources for permanent housing and community-based supports.
- Improve research and data to better inform policy and target resources.