-Nearly Three-fourths of California Continuums of Care
Recently Reported Not Having Sufficient Resources to Move
Homeless Veterans into Permanent Housing Using a Housing First Approach-
(see Table 2 below)
Joe Colletti, PhD and Sofia Herrera, PhD
Hub for Urban Initiatives
Homeless and Housing Strategies for California
As we await the release of the 2018 homeless count data, the number of veterans counted as homeless in the United States in 2017 was 40,056 of which 11,472 or 28.6% were counted in California.
Table 1 lists the 12 states in the U.S. with a homeless population of more than 10,000 persons in 2017, the total number of veterans counted, and notes the percent of the total homeless population that veterans represent.
California not only has the largest number of persons who are homeless but also has the largest number of veterans who are homeless. Homeless veterans make up 8.5% of the total homeless population, which is not the largest percent when compared to the percentages of other states as noted in the table.
Ending homelessness among veterans in California, however, is very important because almost half, 11,472 or 43.4% of the 26,409 veterans counted in the 12 states in 2017 were in California.
Table 1. Total number of homeless persons and veterans counted in 2017 by states with a homeless population of 10,000 persons or more.
|State||Total # of Persons Counted in 2017||Veterans|
|Total # of Counted in 2017||% of Persons Counted in 2017|
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) asked Continuums of Care (CoCs) the following three questions within a subsection of the 2017 and 2018 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program applications that focused on progress towards ending homelessness among veterans:
- Does the CoC use an active list or by name list to identify all Veterans experiencing homelessness in the CoC?
- Is the CoC actively working with the VA and VA-funded programs to achieve the benchmarks and criteria for ending Veteran homelessness?
- Does the CoC have sufficient resources to ensure each Veteran is assisted to quickly move into permanent housing using a Housing First approach?
As noted in table 2 below,
- nearly all of the 40 California CoCs answered “yes” to the first question about using “an active list or by name list to identify all Veterans in 2017 and in 2018;
- All (100%) of the 40 California CoCs answered “yes” to the second question about “actively working with the VA (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) and VA-funded programs in 2017 and all but one in 2018;”
- Nearly three-fourths (72.5%) of the 40 California CoCs answered “no” to the third question about “having sufficient resources” to quickly move each veteran “into permanent housing using a Housing First approach” in 2018, which is an increase when compared to 2017 when nearly two-thirds answered “no.”
Table 2. Answers to Questions regarding veterans in 2017 and 2018 CoC Program applications by California Continuums of Care in 2017.**
Continuums of Care
Does the CoC use an active list or by
Is the CoC actively working with the VA and VA-funded programs to achieve the
|Does the CoC have sufficient resources to ensure each Veteran experiencing homelessness is assisted to quickly move into permanent housing using a Housing First approach?|
|San Jose/Santa Clara City & County CoC||658||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|San Francisco CoC||656||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||no|
|Oakland, Berkeley/Alameda County CoC||526||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Sacramento City & County CoC||492||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Santa Rosa, Petaluma/Sonoma County CoC||207||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Richmond/Contra Costa County CoC||102||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Salinas/Monterey, San Benito Counties CoC||167||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Marin County CoC||89||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Watsonville/Santa Cruz City & County CoC||245||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Mendocino County CoC||12||yes||no||yes||yes||yes||no|
|Turlock, Modesto/Stanislaus County CoC||87||no||no||yes||yes||no||no|
|Stockton/San Joaquin County CoC||96||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Daly City/San Mateo County CoC||100||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Visalia/Kings, Tulare Counties CoC||46||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||no|
|Fresno City & County/Madera County CoC||211||yes||yes||yes||no||yes||yes|
|Roseville, Rocklin/Placer, Nevada Counties||55||no||yes||yes||yes||yes||no|
|Redding/Shasta County CoC||124||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Napa City & County CoC||23||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Vallejo/Solano County CoC||124||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Chico, Paradise/Butte County CoC||109||no||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Merced City & County CoC||13||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Davis, Woodland/Yolo County CoC||22||no||no||yes||yes||no||no|
|Humboldt County CoC||106||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||no|
|Colusa, Glen, Trinity Counties CoC***||18||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Yuba City/Sutter County CoC||28||no||yes||yes||yes||yes||no|
|El Dorado County CoC||82||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Tuolumne, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa Counties CoC||19||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Tehama County CoC||9||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Lake County CoC***||12||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Alpine, Inyo, Mono Counties CoC***||6||–||yes||–||yes||–||no|
|Los Angeles City & County CoC||3,538||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|San Diego City and County CoC||1,312||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Santa Ana, Anaheim/Orange County CoC||419||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||yes|
|Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County CoC||104||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||yes|
|Bakersfield/Kern County CoC||80||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Long Beach CoC||305||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Riverside City & County CoC||136||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|San Bernardino City & County CoC||170||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Oxnard, San Buenaventura/Ventura County CoC||62||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Imperial County CoC||130||no||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|San Luis Obispo County CoC||93||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
**For total number of homeless persons for each CoC go to www.hudexchange.info/programs/coc/coc-homeless-populations-and-subpopulations-reports/.
***CoC did not submit a 2017 and 2018 CoC Program application. Alpine, Inyo, Mono Counties CoC did submit a 2018 application but was not included in the total of “yes” and “no” answers in Table 2.
The importance of these questions stem from an impressive goal to end homelessness among veterans announced by the federal government in late 2009. The plan to carry out the goal was outlined in 2010 in Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent andEnd Homelessness, which was developed by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH).
The plan set forth a number of priorities and strategies to prevent and end homelessness including among veterans and were tied to line items in the federal budget for the past several years. Two successful programs that have been receiving funding to help prevent and end homelessness among veterans were the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program and the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program.
The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program “combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA provides these services for participating Veterans at VA medical centers (VAMCs) and community-based outreach clinics.”
The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program provides “a broad range of services to very low-income Veteran families residing in or transitioning to permanent housing. These services may include outreach; case management; assistance obtaining VA and other benefits; and temporary payments for rent, moving expenses, child care, transportation and other costs associated with helping Veteran families stay in or acquire permanent, stable housing.”
Knowing why some CoCs answered “yes” when asked—“Does the CoC have sufficient resources to ensure each Veteran is assisted to quickly move into permanent housing using a Housing First approach?—and why some answered “no” would help answer the immediate questions that comes to mind after reading the results noted above.
Often CoCs struggle to find both available units and rental subsidies for the units for persons who are homeless. However, because of the increasing number of HUD-VASH and SSVF programs rental subsidies are often readily available for homeless veterans. Therefore, available units may be why some CoCs answered “no” regarding sufficient resources for homeless veterans and not rental subsidies.
If these questions are included in the 2019 CoC Program application, asking each CoC to note why they said “yes” or “no” may help us get closer to finishing the job of ending homelessness among veterans in the United States.
 California consists of 43 CoCs but three did not submit a CoC Program application to HUD in 2017 and 2018. The Alpine, Inyo, Mono Counties CoC did not submit an application in 2017 but did in 2018 and stated “yes” to the first two questions in Table 2 and “no” to the third question.
 HUD noted the following in the 2017 and 2018 Continuum of Care Program applications: Use a Housing First approach. Housing First prioritizes rapid placement and stabilization in permanent housing and does not have service participation requirements or preconditions. CoC Program funded projects should help individuals and families move quickly into permanent housing, and the CoC should measure and help projects reduce the length of time people experience homelessness. Additionally, CoCs should engage landlords and property owners, remove barriers to entry, and adopt client-centered service methods.