SSVF HMIS Workflow Clarification from VA TA

QUESTION #1: By default, our HMIS has the "Client entering from streets, ES, SH" and accompanying questions listed on the "Update" assessment for doing interim reviews (also on the Exit assessment).  Is it common for this to change while working w/clients during the 90 day or less period?  Workflow wise, it's a bit confusing for case mgrs to see this while doing interim reviews.

ANSWER: The Data Dictionary on Collection Point & System Logic for this data element (3.17) states, “Collect once at project entry. System stores collected length of time on streets, in emergency shelter or safe haven and retains for historical purposes. Updates not required.” You might want to submit this to the HMIS Help Desk if this doesn’t answer your question as I’m not sure why it would be collected at Exit or even update. 

QUESTION #2: If a case manager works with a CAT 2/3 client, and finds them housing within the 90 day period, but are still working with them, are they supposed to Exit them from HMIS at day 90, and then create a new Entry? If yes, are they supposed to create the new Entry as Cat 1 since the client is technically housed? If yes, I would assume that means the HP Screening score has to be completed, which makes workflow a bit of an issue...

ANSWER: The 90 day limit doesn’t exist; it is just used for categorization purposes at entry and has nothing to do with length of time enrolled. Ultimately, the important point is whether someone is Cat 1 or Cat 2/3.  Case managers should not be exiting anyone based on 90 days or whether they become housed, and then re-entering into a different category. 

SSVF Program Updates March 25, 2016


1.     Reminder: Reporting Critical Incidents
2.     Additional Clarification:  Guidance Regarding SSVF Travel Costs Related to Training
3.     Register for the National SSVF Webinar on April 21, 2016:  CARF and COA Accreditation Standards Overview
4.     INFORMATION:  Blog about Successes in Ending Homelessness Among Veterans

Reminder:  Reporting Critical Incidents

The Program Office would like to thank SVF providers for their continued cooperation in submitting Critical Incident Reports to our office in a timely manner.   We also want to remind grantees that all Veteran deaths resulting from suicide must be reported to the SSVF program office as a Critical Incident and to the local VA Medical Center.  All VA Medical Centers have specially trained Suicide Prevention Coordinators who track Veteran suicide deaths.  Grantees can find their local Suicide Prevention Coordinator using the link provided below:

Additional Clarification:  Guidance Regarding SSVF Travel Costs Related to Training

The SSVF Program Office would like to further clarify the travel costs related to training guidance provided through the SSVF Program Update on March 18, 2016 where Regional Coordinator approval must be received prior to conducting any travel related to training with a combined total of $200 or more. Please note the goal of this guidance is not to discourage employee development or learning. SSVF values learning, and we do want you to continue to share best practices. The concern is the perception when travel seems excessive – how would this impact public perception of your agency and the VA?  We want to make sure everyone is being efficient and strategic with their funds.

It is each grantee's responsibility to ensure that they are using SSVF funds in a fiscally responsible manner. Travel is allowable as a direct program cost when such travel will provide direct benefit to the SSVF program and grant award. Grantees must be able to document how the travel benefits their SSVF program specifically and how the training will be applied to their work, the scope of the travel and why it is necessary, why the number of staff attending are necessary, why the cost is reasonable and a good use of VA dollars, and how their travel will be done in the most cost-effective way possible.

For example, if a grantee was based in Maryland but wanted to go to a Motivational Interviewing training in Florida in January, this cost may be considered questionable. Although Motivational Interviewing is a tool that SSVF supports to assist households, the considerations should include if comparable training could be provided in a more local setting. It is understood that MI training is prevalent, and traveling across states to receive training would not appear to be necessary or an appropriate use of VA funds.

Grantees should note that costs associated with travel and training will be reviewed during monitoring visits. All appropriate documentation will need to be provided. If a cost appears to be unreasonable, it could result in the grantee needing to return funds. For this reason, it is important for grantees to consult with their Regional Coordinators prior to conducting any travel related to training with a combined total of $200 or more except for the exclusions listed below.

Travel that Does Not Require Regional Coordinator Approval

·         SSVF Regional Meetings and Program Launches
o   SSVF Regional Meetings and SSVF Program Launches are required by the VA and are approved travel that does not require pre-authorization by the Regional Coordinator.

·         National Conferences Directly Related to SSVF Work
o   It is understood that there are national conferences that further the practice of SSVF, housing first, rapid re-housing, and prevention services.
o   The following conferences do not require pre-authorization: National Alliance to End Homelessness National Conference (Summer) and Conference to End Family Conference (Winter), National Coalition to End Veteran Homelessness (Spring and Fall). Other conferences can be considered on a case by case basis but should be reviewed by the Regional Coordinator.

·         CARF/COA Accreditation
o   It is understood that certain accreditation requirements may include the need to attend a training or conference. Costs should be clearly justified and should be reasonable and necessary.

·         Standard Travel Expenses for the Day-To-Day Operation of the Grant
o   Expenses for mileage to attend local meetings, conduct outreach, or perform day-to-day operations such as meeting with Veteran households or attending CoC meetings do not require pre-authorization.

Quick Tips
·         Be strategic about what trainings staff are attending:
o   Do these trainings align with the SSVF Program goals?
§  Trainings paid for with SSVF funds should be relevant to your SSVF program operations.
§  Be considerate of the number of staff sent to attend these trainings as well. 
·         If you are traveling for strategic or "mentoring" purposes:
o   Can this be accomplished via teleconferencing/webcam?
§  You will need to justify in-person meetings that are outside state-lines/commutable distances.
o   Please always discuss these trips with your Regional Coordinator prior to booking travel.
·         Always maintain documentation of your rationale for employee travel. 
o   As mentioned below, these are "high audit" costs that will be reviewed by monitors.
o   If any travel is deemed outside the scope of SSVF and/or determined to be unreasonable you may be asked to return funds.

Information to Send Regional Coordinators for Travel Requests
·         Grant name and number
·         Date of proposed travel
·         The proposed cost
·         Number of Staff Participating in travel and why the number attending are necessary and reasonable
·         The scope of the travel and why it is necessary
o   How the proposed travel benefits their SSVF program specifically
o   How the training will be applied to their work
o   Why the cost is reasonable and a good use of VA dollars
o   How their travel will be done in the most cost-effective way possible

Register for the National SSVF Webinar on April 21, 2016 at 2:00 PM Eastern

Please register for the SSVF Webinar Series: CARF and COA Accreditation Overview for SSVF Providers on Apr 21, 2016 2:00 PM Eastern at:

The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and The Council on Accreditation (COA) will present an overview of the accreditation process and standards.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

INFORMATION:  Blog about Successes in Ending Homelessness Among Veterans

Please take a moment to read and share a newly published blog by Anthony Love, Director of Community Engagement for the VHA  Homeless Programs Office, called "When 'Zero' Is Possible: How One State and Two Cities Ended Veteran Homelessness" on NeighborWorks America's website.

The blog is about community-by-community successes in ending homelessness among Veterans.  Mr. Love notes that more than 20 cities and states across the country have declared an end to Veteran homelessness, including Virginia, New Orleans and Houston. To find out how they did it—and how other communities could replicate these efforts—Mr. Love spoke to officials from each jurisdiction to identify common approaches and best practices.

Visit the link and urge others in your network to do the same to make sure this article is viewed by the widest possible audience

NOTE:  If you are receiving this email in error, please disregard.  We request your patience as the SSVF Program Office continues to address system issues with the grants management database.

Thank you,

SSVF Program Office

Register by TODAY to get the Early Bird Conference Discount!

2016 Human Service Conference

Looking to sharpen your direct service practice, management, and leadership skills? Rejuvenate your passion? Join us for the 2016 Human Services Conference: 
"Partners in Excellence"

Early Bird Deadline: TODAY - Friday, March 25! 

Your Full Conference Registration Package Includes:
*Admittance to innovative and educational presentations, and workshops.
*Exclusive networking opportunities.
*Access to motivating speakers.
*CEUs for workshops and panels for a small fee. 

*Networking Reception on Tuesday, May 3
*Awards Dinner on Wednesday, May 4 
*Partnership Luncheon on Thursday, May 5
*Conference Bag and Souvenir Itinerary Program Book
*Registration Package Options for the OHEP and Weatherization TRACKS may vary.


  • Sponsorship, Exhibitors, Advertisementclick here.
Room blocks have been reserved for attendees. Availability is on a first come, first serve basis, so reserve your hotel room early.
Group Rate Available Until May 2, 2016
Mention: MCAP/MACAA Group
Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel, 903 Dulaney Valley Rd, Towson, MD 21204 

Please contact Dr. Susan Gove at or me at should you have questions.

Thank you. 


Michael E. Young, MSW
Executive Director
Maryland Community Action Partnership (MCAP)
(443) 482-5169

Maryland Community Action Partnership (MCAP)

420 Chinquapin Round Road 
2nd Floor, Suite 2-I

Phone: (443) 482-5168  * 

Fax: (443) 482-5104

News from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness

March 25, 2016
Talk the Walk on Housing FirstUSICH Deputy Director Richard Cho

This week, the annual Housing First Partners Conference is convening in Los Angeles to share, encourage, and explore the idea of "Taking Housing First to Scale" to end homelessness.

Deputy Director Richard Cho shares his thoughts on why it's important we all become effective ambassadors of the Housing First approach. Here are his three tips to "talk the walk" in order to bring Housing First to scale.  

New Resource for Reentry Professionals: Connecting People Exiting Incarceration with Homelessness Assistance
Housing is a stabilizing force. It provides a consistent base for people so they can focus on accessing the services they need to successfully reenter their communities and break the cycle of homelessness and incarceration. 

This tip sheet provides practical suggestions for reentry professionals on helping people exiting the criminal justice system connect to housing and homelessness resources.

President's FY 17 Budget Seeks Resources to End Chronic Homelessness and Help Families Achieve Self-Sufficiency
FY 2017 U.S. Government Budget Request
Supportive housing is a proven solution for ending long-term homelessness among individuals with disabilities and complex health conditions.
Read our fact sheet to see how the President's budget would help create enough supportive housing opportunities to end chronic homelessness once and for all.
Also learn about how the President's budget would strengthen the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in this new fact sheet from the Administration for Children and Families.
U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, 1275 First Street, NE, Suite 227, Washington, DC 20552

Webinar: Housing Access and Stability with SOAR

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March 24, 2016
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Webinar: Housing Access and Stability with SOAR

Thursday, April 7, 3:00pm-4:30pm (EDT)

For individuals with disabilities who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, lack of stable income can mean the difference between housing and living on the streets. This webinar will introduce our latest issue brief "Housing Access and Stability with SOAR." You will hear from three providers who have successfully integrated SOAR and Housing First.  You will learn how these programs obtained funding, engaged housing providers and created an effective and lasting SOAR initiative!

This webinar is recommended for SOAR State Leads, Local Leads, Coordinators, SOAR Providers, homeless service providers, housing support specialists, and individuals who would like more information on how to connect SOAR & Housing.

  • Abigail Lemon, M.A., Project Associate, SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center, Delmar, NY
  • Will Connelly, M.A., Director, Metropolitan Homelessness Commission, Nashville, TN
  • Bliqis Rock, LGSW, SOAR Coordinator, Healthcare for the Homeless, Baltimore, MD  
  • Peter Pike, Executive Director, Colorado Disability Benefits Support Program, Denver, CO