Roundtable: Housing, Homelessness, and the Transition from the Military to the Community
(Housing and Community Development)

Saturday, November 8, 2014: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Tesuque (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Kerry Spitzer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Moderators:  Shannon A. McKay, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Speakers:  Jay Bainbridge, Marist College, Leon Sawh, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Kerry Spitzer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dan Treglia, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; University of Pennsylvania

Veterans returning home from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq face unique housing challenges and opportunities. Veterans are both more likely to be homeowners and to experience homelessness than the general population. In addition, many veterans face extreme rent burdens. A 2013 study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition reported that over 1.5 million veteran households pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing costs and that recent veterans are particularly at-risk. The Obama administration has committed to ending homelessness among veterans by 2015 and this ambitious goal has resulted in new federal funding for programs to prevent and end homelessness among veterans and their families. Our panel will address the role of housing during the transition to civilian life and the federal and local policies designed to assist low-income veterans with housing. A recent Pew Research Center Survey found that 44 percent of veterans who have served since 9/11 had difficulty during reentry to civilian life (Morin 2011). The challenge of reintegrating to the community is often exacerbated by unemployment, disability, criminal justice involvement, and a variety of other factors. Panelists will bring both academic and practical experience working with veterans and veteran service providers. Leon Sawh will explore the challenges that justice-involved veterans face and discuss why alternatives to incarceration that include veteran-centric mental health and substance abuse treatment programming are warranted. Thomas Byrne will discuss the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) homelessness prevention program, Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF), and its potential for building partnerships between the VA and community-based organizations to identify and assist vulnerable veterans. Kerry Spitzer will discuss how gender shapes readjustment experiences of veterans and how rural and suburban organizations are meeting the needs of the increasing share of women veterans. Jay Bainbridge will discuss performance measurement requirements on local agencies and the impact these new targets have on homeless services providers that serve veterans. Dan Treglia will share his work on the geographic distribution of the residential origins of homeless veterans, and how this work might be used to inform targeted outreach to veterans at risk of homelessness. The conversation will be moderated by Shannon McKay, who has looked at homelessness among veterans in the Richmond Virginia area. Those attending the roundtable will come away with a better understanding of the federal and local responses to ending homelessness among veterans. In addition, the roundtable will provide useful conversation for both practitioners and researchers interested in housing for low-income veterans.
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