The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF), New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) and Veterans Outreach Center of Rochester, N.Y., recently hosted regional meetings in both downstate and update New York with agencies operating or preparing to implement U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veterans and Families (SSVF) programs.
SSVFs are intended to prevent homelessness among veterans and their families through rapid rehousing, case management, access to benefits, temporary financial assistance and other means. The IVMF leads a NYS SSVF Direct TA Center (DTA) funded by NYSHealth. Through this work, the DTA team works to increase the number of new NYS SSVF grantees and expand the capacity of existing NYS SSVF grantees to serve veterans and their families.
The meetings introduced the DTA’s strategic plan for supporting implementation and expansion of services to prevent veteran homelessness in NYS through SSVFs and other initiatives. The convening also served as an opportunity for grantees to increase communication with each other by discussing collaborative strategies. Attendees will have an opportunity to work one on one with the DTA regional coordinator to create individualized technical assistance plans. The Veterans Outreach Center advised fellow grantees on how to create a planning calendar of “to do’s” (for instance, if funded, when they should start hiring a program manager etc.). The group also debriefed about the SSVF application process and grant development.
“The VA has made a strong commitment to end veteran homelessness by 2015 and these SSVFs are crucial to that effort. New York is fortunate to have so many capable organizations dedicated to addressing veteran and veteran family needs and we are pleased and honored to work with them as partners in helping to achieve this national goal of eradicating veteran homelessness,” says Gary Shaheen, IVMF director of employment policy.
The downstate NYS region meeting was held at NYSHealth. Attendees included the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk Inc., HELP Social Service Corporation, Hudson River Housing, Institute for Community Living, Jericho Project, Samaritan Village Inc., Soldier On, United Veterans Beacon House, VOC and Westchester Community Opportunity Program Inc. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Robin Hood Foundation, Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), New York University’s Langone Medical Center and Eric J. Hesse, recently appointed director of the NYS Department of Veterans Affairs.