Lynn Is the First City in Massachusetts to end Veterans Homelessness
Salute to all Lynn citizens for their efforts to be the first city in Massachusetts to come up with a plan to combat Veterans’ homelessness. Their goal was to ensure that vets have a place they can call home. Of course, ending veteran homelessness is one of the major goals that each and every city aims to achieve.
The vet shelter system in Massachusetts was started back in 1983. However, the shortage of affordable housing and lack of enough support programs and resources led to a high number of vets in the city.
In January 2015, a new program was started that not only aimed to house vets, but also aimed to connect them with support services such as counseling and job search aid. The program leaders sponsored various events with an aim of meeting with Veterans Affairs representatives to discuss how they can effectively explore VA benefits and secure rental assistance vouchers that can provide access to permanent housing. Their solution was to raise more than $12 million from the city and private resources in order to cover up for housing and other support services.
Half of the vets who applied for housing assistance were not VA eligible due to the nature of the service provided. Those who were VA eligible were given support from the government and private agencies. The process started with creating vets registry as well as addressing barriers associated with housing such as lack of affordable rental houses.
The program started with a total of 414 homeless vets.79 of them remained in emergency homeless shelters while 25 of them were considered chronically homeless due to addiction and mental illness.A database was created to connect vets with the support services from the moment they entered the shelter system. Caseworkers were assigned to vets in order to ensure that they got the necessary counseling and medical appointments as well as job training.
Since the program started, homeless vets have been joining the system on a daily basis. Some of the vets come out of other states due to Veteran Benefits available in Lynn. Unfortunately, the average length of stay for vets in emergency shelters has been reduced by 25%.
Recent research proved that the number of homeless vets has dropped at a huge rate. However, there are still 600 chronically homeless vets in the city. As of today, there are a total of 484 housed vets and 91 homeless vets remaining in emergency shelters.
Our goal at Habitat Plus is to see vets moving to the next step. This is our long-term commitment!We believe that if we partner together and change our focus, we will definitely get the best outcome.
Let’s act with urgency to end homelessness for vets!
Our program not only houses vets but can also connect them with support services such as counseling.
We know each and every veteran who we have housed and how long they have been with us and we go through the list often in order to make significant progress. If any question or suggestion, don’t hesitate to fill out our contact us form at Habitatpus.org/contactus and we will get in touch immediately.