Service provider organizations: We need your help
Our community has committed to house every homeless veteran. To make that a reality, we need your help.
Never before have there been as many housing resources for homeless veterans as there are today. There are long-term and shorter-term rent assistance dollars from the federal government and local jurisdictions. These include Section 8 vouchers and significant local rent assistance resources available to veterans, even if they have less-than-honorable discharges or other barriers. And we are actively recruiting property owners and managers to make units available to veterans experiencing homelessness.
How your agency can help
Ask every person if they served in the military. If they answer “yes” or “don’t know” make a referral
Any staff engaging with homeless people should be asking every new person, “Did you serve in the military or national guard?” If the answer is anything other than no, staff should help them connect to the resources available to veterans. At a minimum call “211” but ideally, connect the veteran to the VA’s Community Resource and Referral Center (walking in is easiest, but they can dispatch outreach if needed). At the Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC), a veteran can be assessed for the full range of VA housing services and meet with a non-VA veterans services officer to review discharge status, among other services. Anyone who served but says “I’ve tried, I’m not eligible for anything” should be told that right now it’s worthwhile trying again. The VA is changing rules and trying to remove barriers to get homeless Vets the services they need. And if the VA can’t help, they can connect a Vet to local resources set aside for those ineligible for VA Healthcare.
- Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC): 308 S.W. 1st Ave., Weekday Walk-Ins: Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thurs., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 503-808-1256. http://www.portland.va.gov/locations/crrc.asp
Sign up veterans on the Veteran Registry
Communities that have been successful at reducing veteran homelessness created a “name registry,” added homeless veterans to the list and began systematically housing them. Our community has launched a veteran Name Registry. Here’s how to get veterans on the list:
- If your agency uses ServicePoint for data, the information needed to refer a veteran is already in ServicePoint. If you have questions, contact Hunter Belgard at the Portland Housing Bureau [email protected] to learn how to access the Veteran Registry Assessment and share the record with the Veteran Name Registry.
- If your agency does not use ServicePoint, you can complete the survey on paper. Contact [email protected] for the forms.
Veterans who think they’re not eligible for anything
Multnomah County has hired a team of Veterans’ Service Officers who ensure individuals know about the benefits for which they’re eligible and can help petition for a change in discharge status. Contact the Multnomah County Veterans' Service Office. Call or email any time to schedule appointment.
- Multnomah County Veterans’ Services 503-988-VETS (8387)
- Email: [email protected]
Use new resources to place and retain veterans you are serving
While we have agencies with dedicated programs for homeless veterans, we know all of our providers work with veterans. If you have a veteran you want to house through your agency, or who you previously housed but is facing eviction, you can get access to the highly flexible local funds and federal funds set aside to help end Veterans’ homelessness. If you are a participant in the Short Term Rent Assistance program administered by Home Forward, funds can be made available to you through that existing contract. If you are working with a homeless Veteran, you can refer them to the VA to determine whether he or she is eligible for a long-term federal subsidy (VASH) and if so, use local funds to place the Veteran until their voucher becomes available. Similarly, you can collaborate with Transition Projects to connect your Veteran with medium term (up to 9 months) rent assistance offered to Veterans through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.
- CRRC: 308 S.W. 1st Ave., Weekday Walk-Ins: Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thurs., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 503-808-1256. www.portland.va.gov/locations/crrc.asp
- SSVF Transition Projects Veterans Hotline (855) 425-5544 Transition Projects, 650 N.W. Irving St. Mon. - Fri 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. , Weekends 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Take on veterans who have rental assistance, but need support finding housing
Our community is fortunate to have 525 Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers, long-term rental vouchers available for homeless veterans – whether they’re unaccompanied or in a family. However, in this rental market, dozens of veterans are struggling to deploy their vouchers and dozens more are waiting to be assigned a worker before being able to start their housing search. There are also veterans with access to shorter-term subsidies and Section 8 vouches who are struggling to find housing. Your agency would be providing tremendously valuable assistance to the Initiative by accepting referrals of one or more of these veterans into your permanent housing placement program. By accepting referrals and helping to house a veteran you will have access to the financial resources and landlord incentives that have been created to further A Home for Every Veteran.
If accepting these referrals creates issues for your city or county contracts, those can be resolved through discussion with your contract manager. If you are open to receiving referrals of veterans who you would then assist with the housing placement process, please contact A Home for Every Veteran at [email protected] or call 503-988-9735.
We are grateful for whatever you are able to contribute to the Plan to End Veteran Homelessness. By the end of the year we will have helped hundreds of veterans escape the streets and fully utilized the critical federal resources flowing into our community. We also will have demonstrated our ability as a community of providers – if given the necessary resources - to collaborate effectively to give every homeless person a path off the streets and back into permanent housing.
Please also check out the A Home for Every Veteran web page for updates.