ZERO Homework + Shorter School Days = Best (and Happiest) Students

Students in Finland test the highest in education in the world.  They have ZERO homework.  School days are shorter.  Kids are encouraged to play.  They thrive in education + life.  Common sense.  We must do the same.

SSVF Region Update from Adrienne: Please Read-Very Important

Hi Team,

I imagine that your may just be reaching this email today. I know that you receive a high volume, and I am really, really sorry for adding to it. I need your help. Please, please cc Lisa if you are emailing me. I want to make sure that we don't lose any emails during the transition. However, if she isn't included and it just goes to me, there may be a very high chance that you won't receive a response right away. Please also help with including information like your grant number etc.

I hope that you are doing extremely well. I am going to ask for your help in reading through this email very carefullyJ First, I wanted to thank you for all of your work. I know that there are many responsibilities with SSVF, and I truly appreciate your dedication. Second, I wanted to commend you on your work with community planning. In our region alone, we have had 8 communities and 2 states receive federal recognition for meeting the Benchmarks and Criteria, and two additional cities that have ended chronic homelessness among Veterans. This is 12 of the 25 national confirmations which is incredible!!!! I know that many of the communities that you serve are making great progress, and I am so so proud of you for your work and leadership. I think you are all amazing, and from the bottom of my heart, I really appreciate your help.

With that being said, I wanted to highlight a few items and ask for your help.

·         Maternity Leave
o   My husband and I are expecting our first child this weekend. This is a little bit earlier than we anticipated so my sincere apologies for the short notice. My leave will officially start on 5/2, and I'll be back in early July.
o   During the time I am on leave, Lisa Mayes from our office will be providing coverage. You will be in good hands.
o   Lisa's email address is
o   She will be listed as the primary contact on my out of office message.
o   Lisa is excellent and will be able to triage day to day questions to the appropriate staff like Lindsay for Program Changes or Bobby for the Rapid Re-housing Waiver as well as support with community planning.
o   If you have questions before Friday, please email me and cc Lisa so that we can do a warm hand off if anything is still in process.

·         Where I Need Your Help            
o   When you send emails, I really need your help in making sure that the following is included in the subject of the email:
§  Grant Number
§  Grant Name
§  Specific Topic or Need
o   This will help Lisa to identify who you are and how to best support you.
o   If an email doesn't have your grant name and number, Lisa will ask you to resend the information.
o   Lastly, if you are a new Program Manager or new staff, please let Lisa know in the body of the email. Again, this will help us to get you the best support when you ask questions or need assistance.

·         Strategy/Planning in Advance
o   As you focus on May and June, I really want you to focus on 2 things.
§  1. Financial Strategy and Program Strategy
·         I strongly encourage you to use the next few weeks to assess where you are at in terms of your finances and program strategy.
o   Are you on target with your households and where you anticipated that you would be by this time (2nd month of 3rd quarter)?
o   If not, what do you need to do to get back on target? Do you need any help? Is it something to discuss during community planning? Remember that we are not only looking at your household targets as a program but also as a team serving a community. If the team is reaching the goal to end Veteran homelessness, and this causes a slight reduction in number of households served, it is okay. It just needs to be clearly documented.
o   Are you at the appropriate expenditure rate for the time period?
o   Are you at the appropriate draw down rate in HHS PMS? Do your draw downs reflect your expenditure rate?
o   Will you need a program change to get back on target?
·         Especially with finances, I want you to think about progressive financial strategy. Use this next round of program changes to put yourself in a good position, and then if you do need a program change in September, it should really be just a slight tweak (not an overhaul) to help you finish out the year.
·         Important Dates: Program Changes due 6/1. The requirement closes on this date, and no late submissions will be accepted so please plan ahead. If your submission is incorrect, it will be denied, no questions asked. Therefore, If you want to brainstorm or have questions about Program Changes, please get your questions into Lisa by 5/23 so that there is time to get you feedback or support prior to the deadline.
§  2. Community Planning
·         As we discussed on our regional call, guidance will be released next week which will give you time to coordinate with the other grantees serving the area, the CoC, and VAMC so that the update accurately reflects a community submission, not just SSVF.  Updates will be due on 6/3.

·         Calendar
o   Repository Upload Due (April)                                   5/04/16
o   Office Hours                                                                       5/18/16 from 1:30pm-3:00pm EST
o   National Webinar                                                             5/19/16 from 2pm-3:30pm EST
o   RRH Waiver Submission Deadline                             5/31/16
o   Q3 Program Change Deadline                                     6/01/16
o   Repository Upload Due (May)                                    6/03/16
o   Community Planning Update Due                            6/03/16
o   Office Hours                                                                       6/15/16 from 1:30pm-3:00pm EST
o   National Webinar                                                             6/16/16 from 2pm-3:30pm EST
o   Summer 2016 Regional Meetings                              Locations/Dates TBD
                                                                              *Calendar Subject to Change*

Thanks so much!

Adrienne Nash Melendez, MLD
Regional Coordinator
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Please note new email address:

Webinar – Talking to Congress; Advocating for Homeless Veterans

Webinar – Talking to Congress; Advocating for Homeless Veterans
Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm EDT
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) is hosting the webinar, “Talking to Congress; Advocating for Homeless Veterans”, on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm EDT.  
Communicating with your elected representatives in Congress can be a daunting task if you have never attempted it before, but it need not be. As constituents, and as providers of housing, employment, and other services to homeless veterans, you would be welcomed in the offices of your Senators and Representatives. Furthermore, the work you can do in these meetings can bear fruit for helping programs and veterans across the country. If you are interested in starting to schedule these meetings, or maybe just interested in brushing up on interacting with Congress before your next regular meeting, this webinar is for you.
Those of you who will be attending the NCHV Annual Conference in June may find this webinar especially useful; both as a prelude to the Public Policy Session, and as a preparatory step before you walk the halls of Congress.
Joshua Stewart, the Director of Policy at NCHV, will be leading the discussion. Be sure to bring your questions!
TO REGISTER FOR “Talking to Congress; Advocating for Homeless Veterans”:
Go to and complete the registration form.
You will receive instructions for joining the training when you register. For additional questions, please contact Joshua Stewart at

Your Weekly Homelessness Update

Alliance Online News
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spotlight on...
continuums of care must register by may 11 to apply for FY2016 hud funding
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Registration Notice. Collaborative applicants must register CoCs by May 11, 2016.

HUD requires each CoC Collaborative Applicant to register in advance of applying for the approximately $1.9 billion of funding available. Collaborative Applicants must register using e-snaps at
Read the full notice »
news alert
It's National #reentryweek
People re-entering the community from prisons and jails are more likely to be excluded from housing and employment because they have criminal records. Without housing and employment many people re-entering the community are at risk of homelessness.

Check out #ReentryWeek on Twitter for more.
Read our blog on re-entry »
hill update
BILL heads to senate floor with $2.33B for homeless assistance
On April 21 the full Senate Appropriations Committee marked-up its fiscal year (FY) 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) funding bill.

It included $2.33 billion for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, an $80 million increase over FY 2016 funding, but $330 million below the Administration’s proposed FY 2017 level. The bill could go to the Senate floor as early as this week.
Read the bill highlights »
Read committee Vice Chairwoman Mikulski's statement »
Conference hotel sold out, register now and book room in overflow hotel
Registration for our 2016 National Conference on Ending Homelessness is open and the main conference hotel is now full. Rooms are still available at our overflow hotels, but we suggest you book quickly because these will fill up fast.
*Please note that reserving a room at the hotel DOES NOT include registration for the conference. Please register separately.
Register for the conference and book a hotel »
upcoming webinars
April 28: Protecting the Fair Housing Rights of People with Criminal Records
Millions of Americans — a disproportionate number of whom are people of color — have criminal records that can be a barrier to housing. In celebration of National Reentry Week, the Shriver Center and the Vera Institute of Justice will host a webinar on fair housing rights for people with criminal records.
>> Register: Thursday, April 28, 2 p.m. EST

May 10: Transforming Homeless Services in West Virginia
Zach Brown, Executive Director of the West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, will discuss the impact rapid re-housing has had on the community’s homeless population. He will also discuss to to implement rapid re-housing in rural areas as well as the cultural shift from a transitional housing to a rapid re-housing model.
>> Register: Tuesday, May 10, 1 p.m. EST
from the blog
Ending Homelessness Today
the official blog of the national alliance to end homelessness
How to help people with criminal records get a fair chance at housing
by Jayme Day
People re-entering the community from prisons and jails are more likely to be excluded from housing because they have criminal records. Criminal records are also barriers to jobs. Without housing and employment many people re-entering the community are at risk of homelessness. And those who are experiencing homelessness with a criminal record can be homeless longer.
comments » | Like How to help people with criminal records get a fair chance at housing on Facebook Google Plus One Button share on Twitter
Rent and move-in assistance: Getting started
by Jen Saunders
The goal of rent and move-in assistance is to provide short-term help to households so they can pay for housing. The amount and duration of financial assistance provided by a rapid re-housing program can vary. At a minimum, programs should provide the assistance necessary for participants to move immediately out of homelessness and to stabilize in permanent housing.
comments » | Like Rent and move-in assistance: Getting started on Facebook Google Plus One Button share on Twitter
Housing is an equalizer
by Guest Blogger, Vera Beech, Community Rebuilders (Kent County, MI)
Vera Beech, Executive Director of Community Builders in Keny County, Michigan, talks about why rapid re-housing works for their consumers.
comments » | Like Housing is an equalizer on Facebook Google Plus One Button share on Twitter

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The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to solving the problem of homelessness and preventing its continued growth.

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