Western CoC strives to help homeless veterans

CLARION The Western Pennsylvania Continuum of Care is proud to announce that the U.S. Inter-agency Council on Homelessness has approved the declaration that the Western CoC has effectively ended veteran homelessness.

This means that the Western CoC has built a system that can quickly identify and house any veteran experiencing homelessness within the Coc's 20 county region. This region includes: Warren, Forest, Crawford, Mercer, Lawrence, McKean, Potter, Cameron, Elk, Venango, Clarion, Jefferson, Clearfield, Butler, Armstrong, Indiana, Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties.

The Western CoC knows that they will continue to see veterans in the community who are experiencing homelessness. This 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.

Their goal is that when veterans experience homelessness that it will be rare, brief and occur one time so that the same veteran will not cycle back into homelessness again.

This 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. Dept. of Veteran Affairs, the five Veterans Affairs Medical Centers serving the region, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, state agencies: Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Dept. 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 and 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 benchmarks outlined below and can now say the following:

4Whenever a veteran experiences homelessness they are identified quickly and house the veteran in less than 90 days on an average.

4They have identified veterans experiencing chronic and long-term homelessness and have worked to house these veterans.

4There are enough housing and service resources available in the community to assist any veteran experiencing homelessness.

4They are providing long-term housing resources to veterans and not relying on short-term housing interventions except when the veteran needs specialized services.

The work to serve veterans experiencing homelessness will never be "done." This claim affirms that our CoC has built a solid system that can quickly and effectively end homelessness when a veteran experiencing homelessness is identified.