Atlanta is home to over 1,200 homeless military veterans. Many could exit homelessness with rental assistance and a few additional services. However, many others face more significant challenges—approximately 20-30% of Atlanta’s homeless veterans are chronically homeless.
Under the Department of Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, HUD provides housing assistance through its Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), and the VA provides veterans with comprehensive case management, clinical, and supportive services. From 2008 through 2011, over 1,000 homeless veterans and their families have moved into permanent supportive housing in Atlanta as a result of the program.
In order for the HUD-VASH program to have an impact on chronic homelessness, a high degree of coordination and community support is needed to ensure outreach to the most vulnerable street homeless veterans, advocacy in connecting them to income (benefits or employment), assistance identify rental units on the private market, and a strong support network to ensure high retention rates.
Through strong coordination, we believe it’s possible for Atlanta to end chronic homelessness among veterans by the end of 2013.
The Unsheltered No More Veterans Initiative is focused on building local capacity, collaboration, and strong outcomes in the HUD-VASH program while also strengthening the broader network of resources available to homeless veterans beyond the HUD-VASH program.
Strategies for 2013
- Conduct outreach & intake with highly vulnerable veterans identified through the Atlanta Homeless Registry.
- Increase early referrals of veterans to VA and mainstream benefits.Increase referrals of to employment assistance programs.
- Streamline coordination between the VA and public housing authorities.
- Expand landlord awareness of and participation in the program
- Expand the inventory of housing units available to individuals with housing barriers
- Provide move-in assistance (deposits, furniture, household kits) to 150 chronically homeless HUD-VASH households.
- Track retention and develop targeted solutions to ensure housing retention of 85% after one year.
- Veterans Affairs (VA)
- Atlanta Office of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
- Decatur Housing Authority
- Housing Authority of DeKalb County
- Atlanta Housing Authority
- United Way of Greater Atlanta
- Regional Commission on Homelessness
- Project Community Connections, Inc.
- Atlanta First Step
- Action Ministries
- Atlanta Furniture Bank
- Home Depot Foundation
- Decatur Cooperative Ministry
- HOPE Atlanta Programs of Traveler’s Aid