Nashua, NH Mayor Jim Donchess of Nashua, announced today that the Greater Nashua region (Nashua, Brookline, Amherst, Hollis, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, Hudson, Litchfield, Mason) has been certified by three federal agencies to have effectively ended homelessness among veterans. Joining the Mayor at a celebratory event at Harbor Homes, Nashua, were representatives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Veteran Affairs, and United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) along with multiple nonprofit and faith-based collaborative partners, federal, state, and local dignitaries, and community members.
“I am proud of the important work done and the results obtained through the efforts of the Partnership for Successful Living and the Greater Nashua Continuum of Care,” Mayor Jim Donchess said. “We have a responsibility to care for those veterans who have sacrificed for us. The Nashua community takes care of our people, and the elimination of veteran homelessness is an example of that caretaking.”
The City of Nashua’s certification was inspired by a culmination of efforts that answered an Obama administration, federal call to action-a commitment to the Joining Forces Initiative to bring an end to veteran homelessness across our nation’s cities. Supported by federal, state, and local resources, the agencies of the Greater Nashua Continuum of Care and staff from the VA, began a robust outreach effort in July 2015, engaging service providers such as Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF), Public Housing Authorities, Veteran Services organizations, human service nonprofits, landlords, and the public at large, to identify all sheltered and unsheltered homeless veterans and provide a swift pathway to permanent housing. By using evidenced-based tools for triaging the needs of identified veterans, having the availability of both rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing resources, as well as integrating the principles of the Housing First model throughout the span of housing assistance for a veteran and their families, these systems have been streamlined to help a veteran experiencing homelessness to quickly secure permanent housing.
Voucher programs, including HUD VASH which is administered through the VA, were also utilized.
“Through close collaboration with federal and local stakeholder organizations we have been able to provide wraparound supports to Veterans who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness,” said Danielle Ocker, medical center director, Manchester VA. “With the support of our partners, the medical center has assisted over 450 Veterans to realize permanent housing. There is much to be celebrated today, and there is much more to be done.”
Declaring the effective end to veteran homelessness requires meeting several federal benchmarks. The criteria includes identifying all veterans experiencing homelessness and maintaining updated information through the Homeless Management Information System, (HMIS); to provide shelter immediately to any veteran experiencing homelessness who accepts it; to provide transitional housing in limited instances and only as a temporary transition to permanent housing; to have a secure system in place to assist veterans to swiftly move into permanent housing, and to execute resources should any veteran become homeless or at risk of homelessness in the future.
“We applaud all the partners in Nashua who collaborated to plan and execute the critical strategies we know can end homelessness in this country,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “Communities like Nashua are proving that homelessness is solvable, not just for Veterans, but for everyone.”
Today, the Greater Nashua region has currently identified every homeless veteran and has the infrastructure and support systems in place to ensure that any man or woman who has ever worn a military uniform and who is experiencing homelessness today or in the future, will receive immediate assistance to quickly obtain a permanent home. The effectiveness of this system is based on implemented prevention strategies and rapid identification, outreach, engagement, housing placement, and supportive services offered to veterans and their families who are or may become homeless. This continuation of hard work will also ensure that every veteran will get the help they need, once they are in their homes, to stay in their homes.
“We congratulate the City of Nashua, Harbor Homes and everyone who has worked so hard on behalf of our veterans to meet the challenge of ending veteran homelessness,” said Gregory Carson, HUD New Hampshire Field Office Director”.
Achieving the goal of bringing an end to veteran homelessness does not mean veterans will never face homelessness again or in the future. To maintain this historic progress, the Greater Nashua community is asked to stay alert and watchful for those who may be struggling with homelessness. If you are facing homelessness or may suspect someone who is, please call the Nashua Coordinated Access line at 844-800-9911 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org