Effectively Ending Veteran Homelessness in Philadelphia

On December 15, 2015, after years of dedication and hard work, USICH, HUD, and VA confirmed that the City of Philadelphia effectively ended homelessness among Veterans. The infrastructure and systems built by the coalition of VA and its federal and community partners ensure that any Veteran experiencing a housing crisis in Philadelphia will get the support they need to quickly obtain a permanent home and that homelessness in Philadelphia for Veterans is rare, brief, and non-recurring.

The Philly Vets Home Team credits the success of our efforts to four main components:

1. On-going Collaboration: From the August 2013 Rapid Results Bootcamp to the present, the non-profit agencies, Philadelphia’s Office of Supportive Housing (OSH), VA, Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), and the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) have worked intensely together in a collective impact approach that started with agreement on the numerical take-down target. Team members were willing to push the envelope at their own agencies (bringing resources, streamlining process, sharing information) towards the higher goal of ending Veteran homelessness. From very early in the effort, the team focused on use of the “by-name” list, which closely tracked the housing status and whereabouts of each homeless Veteran.

2. System-Driven Response with Data:  The team figured out how to create policies and procedures across programs in order to build a system that was monitored with key data points: placement rates, timeframes, available resources, and number of people currently experiencing homelessness.

3. Perseverance: The collaborative agencies “kept coming back” to the weekly meetings for years and focused on measures and actions in order to achieve the goals.

4. Commitment to the Veteran: Philly Vets Home has consistently reiterated and demonstrated a commitment to the needs of the individual Veteran, in order to make sure they are fully met.

Read the history of the efforts in Philadelphia in the full case study. And read through our additional case studies to learn from more communities that have ended Veteran homelessness

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