|HUD R3 No. 19-56
December 13, 2019
HUD, VA, COMMONWEALTH CELEBRATE END TO VETERAN HOMELESSNESS IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA
PHILADELPHIA - U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Joe DeFelice joined federal, state and local partners in celebrating the Western Pennsylvania Continuum of Careâ€™s achievement in effectively ending veteran homelessness. Nearly 100 people gathered in New Castle, Pa., for the celebration of progress on December 12.
â€śAt HUD, we are proud to be a part of this significant effort to get veterans back on their feet,â€ť said DeFelice. â€śOver the last 10 years, 220 HUD-VASH vouchers, totaling more than $900,000 in HUD assistance, have given veterans in western Pennsylvania a safe place to call home and critically needed support services.â€ť
The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program combines HUD rental assistance with case management and clinical services from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) confirmed the success of the Western PA Continuum of Care in meeting the criteria and benchmarks for ending veteran homelessness in 20 counties. A Continuum of Care, commonly known as CoC, is a group of homeless service providers working and planning collaboratively to address homelessness in a geographic area.
To effectively end veteran homelessness means the community has the infrastructure and systems in place to permanently house any veteran experiencing homelessness within 90 days. According to CoC leaders, veterans are moving into permanent housing within 33 days on average, surpassing the 90-day benchmark established by the USICH.
Point-in-time count data shows a 39-percent decline in the 20-county region between 2015 and 2019. The counties include Warren, Forest, Crawford, Mercer, Lawrence, McKean, Potter, Cameron, Elk, Venango, Clarion, Jefferson, Clearfield, Butler, Armstrong, Indiana, Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene and Washington.
WHAT THEYâ€™RE SAYING
â€śThis designation celebrates the Western CoCâ€™s commitment to serving Veterans experiencing homelessness. The Lawrence County Community Action Partnership is proud to have been able to spearhead this effort and provide several innovative regional service models that permanently housed hundreds of Veterans.â€ť Kathy Presnar, Emergency Services Coordinator, Lawrence County Community Action Partnership
â€śTo make progress on ending homelessness in our expansive 20-county region, we know that collaboration among providers and community stakeholders is vital. Through the leadership of the Western PA Continuum of Care's Veterans Committee, this level of collaboration was fostered and homeless veterans in our community are now receiving the level of supports and services they deserve as a result.â€ť Linda Thompson, Co-Chair, Western PA Continuum of Care
â€śHomelessness shouldnâ€™t define anyoneâ€™s life, especially veterans whoâ€™ve served our country. Through the system we've built, our community will continue to work together and use resources strategically so that we can quickly support any veteran in moving from homelessness into safe and secure housing.â€ť Tammy Knouse, Co-Chair, Western PA Continuum of Care
â€śThe Western Pennsylvania Continuum of Careâ€™s efforts have significantly impacted western Pennsylvaniaâ€™s veteran population across 20 counties. DCED is honored to be a part of this collaborative group that has the capacity to assist veterans identified as in need of housing and support them with strong provider relationships based on their individual needs.â€ť Secretary Dennis Davin, Department of Community and Economic Development