Veterans and homelessness in rural areas


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Kyle McEvilly, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, discusses the particular challenges involved in serving homeless veterans in rural areas.

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  • The percentage of women among sheltered veterans increased by 1.8 percentage points between 2010 and 2011 and by 2.3 percentage points since 2009. Female veterans are twice as likely to be homeless as female non-veterans
    Demographics are different from overall homeless veterans
    Over recent years, the age distribution among sheltered veterans has shifted slightly. From 2009 to 2011, the share of veterans age 31 to 50 has decreased by 5.6 percentage points (from 44.7 to 39.1%), while the share of veterans age 51 to 61 has increased by 3.9 percentage points (from 38.4 to 42.3%). The proportion of young veterans in shelter has increased by 1.0 percentage points. Similar shifts have occurred in the oldest and youngest age groups of the total veteran population.
    Data overall is reliable, but numbers of homeless women veterans may be undercounted. In 2011, HUD required communities doing the PIT to count the numbers of homeless veterans in unsheltered locations. This, paired with the VISNs efforts to ensure that all veterans in VA residential programs are likewise counted, has drastically increased the reliability of the data without statistical adjustment.
    2.4% decline in homelessness among persons in families
    Sheltered veterans in families are more likely than individuals to be women, younger, and belong to a minority group
  • Veterans and homelessness in rural areas

    1. 1. Kyle McEvilly Communications and Program Assistant National Coalition for Homeless Veterans “Veterans and Homelessness in Rural Areas” April 22, 2014April 22, 2014 1
    2. 2. A Presidential Push “We will provide new help for homeless Veterans because those heroes have a home – it’s the country they served, the United States of America.” -President Obama (March 16, 2009) 2
    3. 3. Agenda  Background on Veteran Homelessness  Rural Veterans and Homelessness  Programs  Remaining Challenges, Existing Services 3
    4. 4. NCHV Mission: NCHV will end homelessness among veterans by shaping public policy, promoting collaboration, and building the capacity of service providers. Federal Strategic Plan: Access to Housing – (Housing First, rapid rehousing) Access to Health Care – (primary, mental, and rehabilitative services) Income Security – (employment, benefits counseling) Prevention – (rapid rehousing, financial assistance, supportive services) The VA Five-Year Plan to End Veteran Homelessness is PART of the Federal Strategic Plan – nothing stops at the end of FY 2015 4
    5. 5. Background on Veteran Homelessness Graph from The 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress 5
    6. 6. Graph generated by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans 6
    7. 7. Contributions to Decline in Numbers  Improved coordination on the local level  More resources  Better data 7
    8. 8. Background on Veteran Homelessness Map from The 2013 AHAR to Congress 8
    9. 9.  Homelessness and women veterans o 1,380 in FY 2006 / 3,328 in FY 2010 / 4,456 in FY 2013 o Factors that impact total numbers  Data improvements and limitations; Impact of prevention and rapid re-housing; Impact of HUD-VASH  Homeless veterans in families o 2% of homeless veterans are part of a family o Factors that impact total numbers:  National mainstream trends; impact of HUD-VASH and prevention programs  OIF/OEF/OND veterans: o 5% of all veterans are between the ages of 18 and 30 o 9% of homeless veterans are in this age group  Aging veterans: o 42.3% of veterans in shelter are between the ages 51 and 61 Trends in Veteran Homelessness Homelessness & women veterans: Homeless Women Veterans: Actions Needed to Ensure Safe and Appropriate Housing (GAO, 2011); The 2013 AHAR to Congress Homeless veterans in families, OIF/OEF/OND veterans: Veteran Homelessness: A Supplemental Report to the 2010 AHAR to Congress Aging veterans: The 2011 AHAR to Congress 9
    10. 10. Needs Profiles of Homeless Veterans  Continuum varies--one description cannot fit all: o Chronically homeless with multiple minor offenses o Incarcerated veterans who are transitioning out o Those with records of DUIs, substance abuse, firearm charges, aggression charges o Those fleeing domestic violence  Different organizations fill roles needed to support these individuals 10
    11. 11. Rural Veterans 11
    12. 12. Rural Veterans 12
    13. 13. Rural Veterans 13
    14. 14. Rural Veterans  Rurally located veterans in United States: 4 million  Rural, working-age veterans with disability: 20%+  Many OIF/OEF veterans return to rural areas Statistics from Rural Veterans at a Glance, Economic Research Service (USDA) 14
    15. 15. Veterans and Homelessness in Rural Areas Veteran Homelessness o 13.6% (or 7,898 veterans) were located in a BoS or statewide CoCs Data limitations What we DO know: o Primary “homeless” living situations for people in rural areas:  Limited shelters  Overcrowded homes  Substandard housing  Outdoors Statistic from The 2013 AHAR to Congress; other information from Rural Homelessness: Better Collaboration by HHS and HUD Could Improve Delivery of Services in Rural Areas (GAO, 2010) 15
    16. 16. Veterans and Homelessness in Rural Areas Chart from The 2013 AHAR to Congress 16
    17. 17. Challenges with Serving Veterans in Rural Areas  Access to Medical Care o Less frequent use of VA services o Less access to community mental health services o Increased stigma of service utilization o Shortage of primary healthcare workers, specialists locally  Access to Income Security o Higher and more prolonged unemployment o Less access to public transportation services o Low-skill/seasonal job prevalence  Access to Housing o Disconnect between employment and housing location o Restricted homelessness definitions 17
    18. 18. Challenges with Serving Veterans in Rural Areas  Legal issues affect medical care, income security, housing access  Decreased access to housing alternatives  Restricted employment opportunities  Ineligible for VA benefits payments  Ineligible for VA medical services  Ineligible for Vet Center family counseling and mental health services 18
    19. 19. Resources on Veteran Homelessness  NCHV  National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans  Local VA Medical Centers (VAMCs)  Continuums of Care (CoCs)  DOL American Job Centers (AJCs) 19
    20. 20. Programs for Homeless and At-Risk Rural Veteran Population Major Federal Programs Medical Care Income Security o HVRP o American Job Centers o VA Benefits o SSI/SSDI Housing o Continuum of Care o Transitional Housing (GPD) o HUD-VASH Prevention Programs (SSVF) 20
    21. 21. Programs for Homeless and At-Risk Rural Veteran Population Medical Care - Not VA eligible/mainstream services County mental health services Mobile health clinics Target programs: elderly care, SME services State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through HHS o provides health-insurance to low income children who do not qualify for Medicaid and have no health insurance Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through HHS o provides access to essential health care services for people who are low-income, uninsured or who live in rural areas or urban neighborhoods where health care is scarce. o HRSA-funded health centers provide medical care to nearly 17 million patients at more than 4,000 sites o Funds programs to prevent child abuse and domestic violence 21
    22. 22. Programs for Homeless and At-Risk Rural Veteran Population (continued)  Domestic violence support groups  RAINN support groups  Administration for Children and Families (ACF) through HHS o Administers Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: providing assistance to an estimated 4 million people Administers the national child support enforcement system 22
    23. 23. Programs for Homeless and At-Risk Rural Veteran Population Income Security  Employment o Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP)  Objectives: • To provide services to assist in reintegrating homeless veterans into meaningful employment within the labor force • To stimulate the development of effective service delivery systems that will address the complex problems facing homeless veterans o American Job Centers  Benefits o SOAR o Expedited VA benefits processing 23
    24. 24. Secretary Eric Shinseki Department of Veterans Affairs “We are making great progress in the rescue mission, but we must work harder to succeed in the prevention phase of our mission … That is the only way we’ll truly end veteran homelessness.” May 30, 2012 NCHV Annual Conference 24
    25. 25. Challenges for Prevention Mission Poverty • Number of veterans living in poverty: 1.4 million • VA data estimates 1 in 9 will experience homelessness: 154,000 • Veterans exiting incarceration (5 years): 200,000 • Low rank veterans exiting military (5 years): 750,000 Lack of affordable housing • Waiting lists for housing vouchers remain in most communities • Housing First and rapid rehousing depend on adequate affordable housing stock • Housing crisis imperils veteran families – most areas need mixed-population, services-enriched developments First two statistics from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; third statistic from U.S. Department of Justice 25
    26. 26. Services to Reduce Risk of Homelessness • Child care services • Child support enforcement • Legal assistance to remove barriers to housing, employment • Financial and credit counseling services • Financial guardianship • Mainstream assistance for low-income veteran families ─ Food stamps ─ Family health care ─ Transportation assistance ─ Case management; peer counseling ─ State Vocational/Rehabilitation Employment Services ─ SSI and SSDI assistance • Family counseling services, reconciliation assistance • Driver’s license restoration assistance and photo ID services 26
    27. 27. 27
    28. 28. Kyle McEvilly Communications and Program Assistant (202) 546-7086 National Coalition for Homeless Veterans 28