Panel Paper: Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing for Veteran Families: Assessing Housing and Health Outcomes of Veterans in the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) Program

Thursday, November 7, 2013 : 11:50 AM
3015 Madison (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Tom Byrne1, Ann Elizabeth Montgomery1, Dan Treglia1, Jay Bainbridge2, Vincent Kane1, John Kuhn1 and Dennis Culhane1, (1)US Department of Veterans Affairs, (2)Marist College
Despite a significant shift in homelessness assistance policies towards homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing, few studies have examined the effectiveness of such approaches. This paper addresses that gap by examining the housing and health outcomes of 21,000 veteran households served by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program

Started in fiscal year 2012, SSVF funds community-based organizations to provide homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing services to veteran households.  The program is an important component of the VA’s strategy to achieve its stated goal of preventing and ending homelessness among veterans by 2016, marked by its 500% increase in funding from FY 12 to FY 14 and its expansion to 49 states, DC, and Puerto Rico.  It incorporates the core components of federal and municipal homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing strategies, and thereby serves as a first step toward evaluating the broader national strategy.

This paper evaluates the effect of SSVF services on housing stability and healthcare utilization, including the use of behavioral health services.  Both sets of dependent variables are assessed through the use of relevant VA services and are modeled using program variables (the type, amount, and duration of SSVF services provided) and the demographic and prior healthcare utilization of SSVF recipients.  In identifying program factors and individual characteristics that are facilitators or barriers to increased housing stability, study findings can be used to inform the implementation of homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing initiatives within the VA and in the mainstream homeless assistance system.