Many individuals honored veterans last week, but an easy way to honor vets year-round is to be an advocate for human services and a supporter of organizations working to ensure they don’t become chronically homeless.
While there is always work to be done, Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness
, says the government and others are learning from the past.
“In 2012, we had 822 veterans who were homeless, and in 2013, that number dropped to 750,” Finn says. “In 2012, that was 13 percent and it dropped to 9 percent in 2013.”
Those averages are from Hamilton County, specifically, but there is a decline in veteran homelessness on the national scale, as well.
“The VA has started a program called Supportive Services for Veteran Families
(SSVF), which is sort of the new thing, and it does two things for veterans,” Finn says. “It funds homelessness prevention, so if a veteran and their family is about to be homeless, those dollars can be used to prevent them from becoming homeless, and it pays for rapid re-housing.”
According to Finn, SSVF is the most recent innovation to point to in terms of the decreasing number of homeless vets. HUD-VASH
and the VA Grant and Per Diem Program
are longstanding programs, he says, that continue to work.
In addition to these programs, Strategies to End Homelessness, which works in partnership with 30 nonprofits
in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, is doing its part to ensure that all homeless individuals not only have a safe place to sleep, but also have supportive services and resources to transition them out homelessness.
“We’re in the process of doing a significant re-do of our emergency shelter system, so we’re providing higher level of services to vets and others,” Finn says. “The goal is at end of day, that person should be closer to getting out of homelessness than they were at the beginning of the day.”
• Help end homelessness in Cincinnati and Hamilton County by donating
• If you can't provide monetary support, know that your time is just as valuable. Volunteer with one of the 30 direct service providers
• Be an advocate for human services.