HUD Releases Report: Ending Veteran Homelessness in New Orleans: Lessons from a City that Reached the National Goal a Year Early

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HUD Releases Report: Ending Veteran Homelessness in New Orleans: Lessons from a City that Reached the National Goal a Year Early

In June 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu was galvanized, and returned home filled with determination. He assembled a broad public-private partnership and enlisted these leaders in a committed and very public effort to achieve this ambitious goal – a full year early.
Local leaders, as well as staff at all levels of community agencies, began meeting immediately to chart the course forward. Elected and appointed officials, UNITY of Greater New Orleans (the Continuum of Care lead agency), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and dozens of nonprofit agencies came together to map out strategies, identify veterans in need, organize and implement a process, expand outreach for housing, and more.
The effort employed many strategies. A Master List was updated regularly. As bottlenecks were identified, the team moved swiftly to overcome them. For example, at the outset, it took 2-4 weeks to determine veteran status, but the VA reduced this to a one-day turnaround. As the lack of rental units emerged as a barrier, the Mayor wrote directly to landlords asking them to participate and many – some veterans themselves – made units available and expedited access. More than 150 Military volunteers contributed, going out at night on street outreach teams as well as helping to furnish and equip apartments for veterans.
Despite the collective efforts, housing placements were not on pace to meet the December 2014 goal. In response, a series of mid-course corrections were introduced that sharply accelerated the process.
The retooled approach was successful and on January 5, 2015, Mayor Landrieu announced that New Orleans had become the first city in the United States to end veteran homelessness.
Interviews and site visits were held with stakeholders from the City of New Orleans, UNITY of Greater New Orleans, Volunteers of America, the VA, the Housing of Authority of New Orleans, the State of Louisiana’s Housing Corporation, the Mayors Military Advisory Group, and others. The resulting report – filled with tools, tactics, quotes, and strategies – combines insights and experiences from committed individuals who contributed at all levels.
This guidance document should be useful for other community leaders seeking to mobilize a significant local response as well as to local HUD, VA, and community advocates and providers working to optimize their current activities.
Previously HUD presented a webinar with several key players from New Orleans, reflecting on what they did to reach this goal.

News from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness

December 17, 2015
Five Clarifications on the Criteria and Benchmarks for Ending Veteran Homelessness


Formerly homeless Veteran in permanent housing
Since we released the revised criteria for achieving the goal of ending Veteran homelessness, we've had the opportunity to help communities and stakeholders from around the country apply the criteria and benchmarks locally.
USICH's Richard Cho, HUD's Marcy Thompson, and VA's Keith Harris prepared these five clarifications to help communities working toward an end to Veteran homelessness.

Police Foot Patrol in Portland Engages Youth on the Street, Reduces Crime, Builds Partnerships
Portland Police Officer engages with youth on street
Officers in Portland's Police Bureau hit the streets every day to connect with young people experiencing homelessness. Neighborhood leaders report overwhelmingly positive feedback, and the officers' attitudes toward policing are forever changed, according to Sergeant Jim Quackenbush.
The Portland Foot Patrol was recently recognized as a White House Champion of Change, along with Celia Luce, a peer mentor at the youth service organization Outside In. Read Celia's perspective on the unique partnership.
First Lady and Dr. Biden Congratulate Philadelphia for Ending Veteran Homelessness

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden_ Joining Forces"Philadelphia joins cities across the country - including Houston, Mobile, Syracuse, Las Vegas, and New Orleans - as well as the entire state of Virginia. Together, they have shown us that ending veterans' homelessness isn't just our moral obligation, it is a realistic, achievable goal, if we summon the will and devote resources equal to the task."

For tools and tips to learn more about how New Orleans became the first city to end Veteran homelessness, read this new report from HUD!

Council Convenes Last Meeting of 2015, Discusses Family Homelessness 

Community presenters at December meeting of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness met today with our 19 member agencies for our last Council meeting of the year. We heard from Pamela Kestner from the Commonwealth of Virginia and Laura Zeilinger, a former USICH executive director who is now with the Washington, DC, government, about the challenges and opportunities for ending homelessness among families. 
We'll provide a full report on that meeting in the new year. In the meantime, from our families to you and yours, we wish you a safe and joyful holiday season.

December 21 is National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day.
We remember lives lost and reflect on why we strive each day to achieve an end to homelessness in every community across the country.

Disability Determination Process (DDP) Small Grant Program RFA for 2016



The Disability Determination Process (DDP) Small Grant Program
awards $10,000 stipends for graduate-level research on improving disability determination processes.

The DDP Small Grant Program is a one-year stipend program that allows graduate students, both full and part-time, to conduct supervised independent research on improving the efficiency and reducing the complexity of disability determination processes. Policy Research, Inc, (PRI) is pleased to announce the sixth round of this federally-funded stipend program. This program is directed by PRI of Delmar, NY, and is funded through a grant (#IDD11000001) from the Social Security Administration.

We will be holding two informational conference calls titled “DDP Application Overview “on Thursday, January 28th 2016 (ET) and Wednesday, February 3rd 2016 (ET). All students interested in submitting an application to the DDP Small Grant Program are invited to attend. We will provide a brief introduction to the program, review the elements of a successful application and answer questions.

Please click here to register for the call on January 28th:
Please click here to register for the call on February 3rd:       

For more information and to view the Request for Applications (RFA), please visit  Contact us at with any questions.


Margaret Lassiter, Program Coordinator
Disability Determination Process (DDP) Small Grant Program
Policy Research, Inc.
Delmar, NY 12054
p: (518) 439-7415 ext. 5230


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Report: Low and Moderate Income Renters Priced out of Affordable Housing

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Report: Low and Moderate Income Renters Priced out of Affordable Housing
At a time when the U.S. is experiencing a historic surge in demand for rental housing, the number of low-cost and moderately priced housing units is failing far short of demand. That’s according to the report “America’s Rental Housing” released last week by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.
While the number of low income renter households competing for low cost rental units (below $400 a month) rose 40 percent from 2003 to 2013, the number of those units rose just 10 percent, JCHS researchers found. Moderate income renters faced a similar disparity over the same period, with renters competing for moderately priced units ($400 to $799) increasing 31 percent, and the units increasing just 12 percent.
Overall rental housing stock has increased by approximately 8.2 million units since 2005. Nevertheless, the median asking rent for a new market-rate apartment last year reached $1,372. JCHS cites a number of trends as driving the demand for rental housing including:
  • The bursting of the housing bubble
  • Tightening of access to mortgage credit
  • Household incomes falling to 1995 levels
Read the report »
hill update
Congress to Finalize FY 2016 Appropriations
Today, Wednesday, Dec. 16, Congressional leaders released the text of the omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. Congress is currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR) that runs out at midnight tonight. To avoid a shutdown and give the House and the Senate time to pass the omnibus bill, Congress is expected to pass another CR that will last through Tuesday, Dec. 22.
A final omnibus bill would fund all discretionary federal operations, including homeless assistance and affordable housing programs, through the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2016. The omnibus bill currently under negotiation would provide $2.250 million in funding for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, a $115 million increase over FY 2015.
Report: 75 Percent of Vets Participating in Study Still Housed 6 Months Later
According to a recently released report on an interagency pilot program designed to explore ways to address homelessness primarily among Post-9/11-era veterans, 76 percent of participating veterans were still living in their own places six months after exiting the program. The report, which examined the Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration (VHPD), also found improvements in employment and income among participants. The program, which began in 2009, was a collaboration between the departments of Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs. Homeless and at-risk veterans were provided with health care and employment services as well as rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention assistance lasting up to 18 months.
The evaluation was conducted Silber & Associates and the Urban Institute and released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Read the report »
from the blog
Ending Homelessness Today
the official blog of the national alliance to end homelessness
Here's What You Need to Know about HUD's New Chronic Homelessness Definition
by Jayme Day
After years of trying to nail down a definition of chronic homelessness, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) finally released a new definition earlier this month. The new definition incorporates comments submitted over the years by a wide variety of stakeholders, including the Alliance.
Now that HUD’s definition is finalized, communities will need to make adjustments to their homeless systems in order to implement the new definition and use it to help end homelessness. We think the new definition will lead to improvements. But to understand fully why it’s good for ending homelessness, you need to first understand what the new definition changes.
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As Rental Costs Rise, Incomes Fall, and Low-Income Renters Are Left Behind
by Liza Doran
Here at the Alliance, we believe the solution to homelessness is housing. Connecting homeless people to housing ends their homelessness, but finding the resources to help people access housing isn’t always easy. And unfortunately, economic trends are making this task even harder.
In many places across America, there is simply not enough affordable housing available to move people out of homelessness and into permanent housing. Without this housing stock, many homeless Americans are likely to remain stuck in the homeless assistance system. Sadly, it doesn’t look like this problem is about to get better any time soon.
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It's Time to Break the Connection Between Foster Care and Homelessness
by Mindy Mitchell
Research shows that people who have spent time in the foster care system tend to become homeless at an earlier age than homeless people without foster care histories. They’re also overrepresented among the homeless youth population.
It’s well known in the homeless assistance field that the foster care system itself is a feeder into youth homelessness, but this year it’s come to the attention of several senators who have introduced legislation to address the problem.
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