Western PA Continuum of Care Declares Veteran Homelessness Effectively Ended in Local Region

| October 8, 2019

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – The Western PA Continuum of Care (CoC) has announced that the U.S. Inter-agency Council on Homelessness has approved the declaration that the Western CoC has effectively ended Veteran homelessness.

The CoC Program is designed to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness and to provide the services needed to help those in need move into transitional and permanent housing, with the goal of long-term stability.

According to a release from CoC, the declaration that the Western PA CoC has effectively ended Veteran homelessness means that they have built a system that can quickly identify and house any Veteran experiencing homelessness within the CoC’s 20 county region, which covers Warren, Forest, Crawford, Mercer, Lawrence, McKean, Potter, Cameron, Elk, Venango, Clarion, Jefferson, Clearfield, Butler, Armstrong, Indiana, Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene, and Washington counties.

The CoC acknowledges that they will continue to see Veterans in our community who are experiencing homelessness. The declaration means that the community has come together to build a system that quickly identifies Veterans experiencing homelessness and assists these Veterans in being housed again.

The CoC’s goal is that when Veterans experience homelessness that it will be rare, brief, and only occur one time (the same Veteran will not cycle back into homelessness again).

The declaration is the culmination of four years of work by the Western CoC’s Veteran Committee. The committee, chaired by Lawrence County Community Action staff members Kathy Presnar and Missy Russell, and supported by Doug Tetrault, Sr. Associate from the Technical Assistance Collaborative, brought together key partners including the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the five VA Medical Centers serving the region, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, state agencies (the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Community and Economic Development), Veteran services providers (Supportive Services for Veteran Families providers, Grant and Per Diem providers, VA-funded providers, local Veterans groups & foundations, etc.), homeless services providers, housing providers, community services providers, and the Western PA CoC.

Being confirmed to have effectively ended homelessness among Veterans means the CoC has met the following benchmarks and can now say the following:

  • Whenever a Veteran experiences homelessness, they identify them quickly and house the Veteran in less than 90 days on average.
  • They have identified Veterans experiencing chronic and long-term homelessness and have worked to house these Veterans.
  • There are enough housing and service resources available in the community to assist any Veteran experiencing homelessness.
  • They are providing long-term housing resources to Veterans and not relying on short-term housing interventions except when the Veteran needs specialized services.

The CoC acknowledges that the work to serve Veterans experiencing homelessness will never be “done.” This declaration simply affirms that the CoC has built a solid system that can quickly and effectively end homelessness when a Veteran experiencing homelessness is identified.


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