As a veteran who has experienced homelessness, I’ve seen how well this works firsthand. I was provided housing assistance – even though I had no current employment, and had budgeting issues. I was able to find housing quickly with SSVF and then found employment; a continued search for better employment led me to work for the local SSVF grantee later in 2014.

Since March of 2014, I have worked with the SSVF program in my community to provide services grounded in Housing First principles for veterans experiencing homelessness, and I have promoted this method for all neighbors experiencing homelessness in the city of Abilene, Texas and surrounding areas. In our community, Housing First has been a success, and even helped us to reach functional zero for veteran homelessness in 2019.

Programs that operate under a Housing First model recognize that almost no goals can be achievable while basic needs like shelter are unavailable. When communities recognize their neighbors are in a housing crisis and make plans to support those exits from crisis, housing is always the first action needed. Then, continued planning can help to achieve stability for that household.

Read the full article about ending veteran homelessness by John Meier at the National Alliance to End Homelessness.