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Report on Veterans Homelessness Program Finds Significant Progress

insight A report authored by Abt Associates found that nearly 140,000 homeless and at-risk veterans received assistance from the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program and that 80 percent of Veterans who completed the program were able to secure permanent housing.
A national homelessness count on a single night in January 2014 found 49,933 homeless Veterans in the U.S. – a 33 percent decrease since 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

One of the factors behind this decrease seems to be the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, which helps homeless Veteran households obtain permanent housing and aids at-risk Veteran households with staying housed and avoiding homelessness. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched the program in 2011 as part of a goal to end Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.

SSVF addresses homelessness among Veterans by providing grants to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives to assist very low-income Veteran families through a range of supportive services designed to avoid or end homelessness and promote housing stability. Such support includes assistance with transportation, child care, legal services, and other needs.

In fiscal year 2014, approximately $300 million in SSVF grant funding was awarded to 319 grantees serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories.

“SSVF grants empower our local partners to provide short term-focused interventions that promote housing stability among the most economically vulnerable Veterans and their families,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald.

The VA recently released the 2014 annual report on SSVF, which was prepared by Abt Associates with support from the VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans and the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC). Abt found that from fiscal years 2012-2014, 138,538 Veterans were assisted by SSVF and that 80 percent of Veterans who exited were successfully placed in or retained permanent housing. Overall, an estimated 34 percent of all homeless sheltered Veterans nationwide received help from SSVF in exiting homelessness.
Abt assists the VA with SSVF in three main ways:
  • Developing and implementing training and technical assistance for SSVF grantees, including tri-annual regional meetings, annual conferences, remote training, and individualized technical assistance with TAC;
  • Monitoring the programmatic performance of SSVF grantees in partnership with Atlas Research LLC and the TAC; and
  • Providing support to SSVF grantees to facilitate their data collection, reporting and data quality improvement efforts with SRA International, Inc.
Abt’s technical assistance work for SSVF builds on its lead role in providing technical assistance for HUD‘s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program from 2009 through 2012.

“Our work with SSVF reflects Abt’s unique capacity to use research, policy, and practice expertise to help communities address and end homelessness among Veterans,” said Tom Albanese, an Abt Senior Associate in Social and Economic Policy.

Read the 2014 SSVF Annual Report.

Learn more about Abt’s work in reducing and preventing homelessness.
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