The Tampa/Hillsborough County CoC has adopted the national goals to end homelessness among Veterans by the end of 2015 and chronic homelessness by the end of 2016. This will be accomplished by utilizing best practices and the Housing First concept to move homeless Veterans and chronically homeless individuals and households from the streets into permanent housing or permanent supportive housing paired with case management and wrap around services.
Aided through being selected by HUD, VA and USICH as one of 25 cities most likely to have the biggest impact on the national goals, the Tampa/Hillsborough County CoC is implementing system changes to create a more effective, coordinated system of care that will lead to achieving these goals in a way that lays the foundation for ending all homelessness in the community.
Coordinated Intake and Assessment, sometimes called Community Assessment and Housing Placement System, is a shared community method that streamlines the process by which homeless individuals and families access help. It changes the system from a ‘first-come, first-serve’ approach to an approach that prioritizes those most vulnerable and most in need, matches people to the right intervention for them, and provides the minimum help needed to re-house them.
Using the VI-SPDAT tool, homeless individuals and households are assessed for highest need and type of intervention needed (i.e. rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, and Veteran services). Once assessed, the individual/household is referred to an appropriate, available service organization for help. When the referrals exceed the capacity of a program, households are placed on a prioritized waiting list based on their vulnerability scores.
The waiting list is based on priority of the situation to ensure those most vulnerable, and most likely to die on the streets, are assisted first. Regardless of when someone is placed on the waiting list, the person with the highest vulnerability priority score will be next in line. Not only does this help the person most in need first, it also helps the community in terms of reducing the cost of homelessness by reducing emergency room and criminal justice system interactions.
For CI&A to be most effective, all providers of homeless services and housing need to be actively participating – not just those which are required to because of their funding. Full community participation is our goal, and is necessary to transform the system into a ‘no-wrong door’ approach.
Operation: REVEILLE is a housing first based project to rapidly rehouse homeless Veterans by moving them from the street directly into permanent housing or permanent supportive housing paired with case management and wrap around services in a single day.
The first Operation: REVEILLE in Tampa/Hillsborough County was held on Veterans Day 2014. Led by THHI in collaboration with 50 organizations, businesses, funders and governmental departments, 51 homeless Veteran households moved directly from the street into their new homes that day. The apartments were identified and prepared with new furnishings prior to the day of Operation: REVEILLE to be move-in ready. Each household receives case management, supportive services (transportation, healthcare, and other benefits) and an average of up 12 months of financial housing assistance based on the individual needs of each households.