Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program
The Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program (SSVFP) is a housing first, supportive services outreach program operated by VOA Chesapeake, Inc. and the VA SSVF Program Office. The SSVFP is a community-based program which provides a range of supportive services to very low income Veteran families, defined as a Veteran and family members or single Veterans, in or transitioning to permanent housing to promote housing stability. The primary goals are to assist families transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing and prevent at-risk families from becoming homeless—consistent with the HUD HPRP's (Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Programs).
Eligibility criteria include:
- Veteran head of household or spouse with other than dishonorable discharge.
- Household income combined must be at 50% or less of the Area Medium Income.
- Housing status—must be in permanent housing; homeless and scheduled to obtain permanent housing within 90 days; or, homeless after exiting permanent housing within the last 90 days.
- Clients will be screened with the use of a screening eligibility tool to determine their eligibility for homeless prevention services.
To improve housing stability, the SSVFP provides eligible Veteran families with outreach, case management, assistance obtaining VA and other benefits, and supportive services including:
|*Healthcare services referral||*Fiduciary and payee services referral|
|*Daily living services referral||*Legal services referral|
|*Personal financial planning services||*Childcare services referral|
|*Transportation services (staff mileage)||*Housing counseling and search services|
|*Income support services (job & benefits assistance)|
The SSVFP also provides temporary financial assistance (TFA) through time-limited payments to third parties for rental assistance, utility fee payment assistance, security or utility deposit assistance, moving costs assistance, general housing stability assistance (emergency supplies), emergency housing assistance, childcare financial assistance and transportation costs assistance to help families stay in or acquire permanent housing on a sustainable basis.
SSVFP clients may need assistance to find services and support to address the following contributing factors to homelessness: drug or alcohol abuse, mental health concerns, employment needs, education needs, lack of civilian work experience and other disabilities.
The SSVFP addresses veteran families through the “Housing First" model as needed. The housing first approach is an intensive supportive service that provides veterans and their families with a solution-focused concept where housing is sought out immediately. Services are centered on the permanent placement of veterans, first, with additional intensive services provided as needed. A variety of services are offered by the case manager to promote housing stability and the well being of each veteran family member, in an attempt to meet the veteran family's need(s) as quickly as possible.
The SSVFP assists clients in developing a sense of community and learning to access necessary support systems for meeting their needs. The “client" is viewed as an entire family, children included. The family is treated as a unit, and the program focuses on the successful progress of each family. By definition a veteran family can be a single veteran or a family with a veteran.
Upon entry to the program veteran clients will often need a multitude of services and supports to address the factors that contributed to their housing instability. The services provided will be designed to gradually decrease as the family reduces their needs for intensive intervention. It is believed that this reduction in need will be the result of increased self-sufficiency for each resident including an increased connection to community supports. The SSVFP is not intended to be a long-term program for clients, but is a short-term assistance program for up to 90 days.
The SSVFP is designed to provide supportive services to help each family increase and develop self-sufficiency within their housing environment. Comprehensive case management is of primary importance and a case manager is assigned to each family unit and is responsible for providing a comprehensive assessment of needs, formulation of a Family Services Plan (FSP), and the implementation and management of the FSP. All family members have involvement in this process. Both short immediate and longer term goals are identified with objectives or measurable action steps and interventions toward goal achievement. The family is to work steadily towards their identified goals throughout their affiliation with the program. Regular meetings with the Case Manager to discuss progress are required. The case manager will assist the resident in obtaining access to needed resources, offered within the program or in the community. Resources to be provided within the program include:
- Case management
- Transportation assistance to interviews, appointments, etc.
- Referrals to community services and resources
- Crisis intervention
- Mental health services referrals
- Substance abuse and recovery services referrals
- Referrals to life skills training on issues such as parenting, budgeting, health care and home maintenance
- Income support services—employment services & benefits support/assistance
- Employment and/or education referral and assistance
- Assistance with securing donations such as furniture and clothing
The SSVFP provides support and structure for families to progress towards housing stability and self-sufficiency. Families are expected to focus their efforts on constructive tasks that lead to the achievement of goals in their FSP. In support of this the following expectations of the clients apply:
- Clients are encouraged to refrain from substance abuse.
- All clients, adults and children, should be involved in constructive daytime activities—employment, school or other, as appropriate.
- Clients must focus on their needs and positive growth.
- Clients must be willing to participate fully in the Program and work on issues and needs obstructing achievement and maintenance of housing self-sufficiency. Group and individual assignments regarding budgeting and finance, household management, and empowerment/self-esteem may be required.
- Financial responsibilities such as income, rent payments, savings, assets and expenses verifications will be required for proper support.
- Clients must also be willing to and provide verifying documents of Identification, Veteran/discharge status and Housing status.
- Clients will be supported to maintain their home in a safe, sanitary and organized manner as expected by housing providers. Inspections may be conducted.
As veteran clients progress and achieve their goals and less intensive interventions are needed, program requirements and services can be scaled back. Successful progress in the program will be based on an individual's ability to attain their goals and positive presence in the Program.
Veteran applicants and/or referral sources should contact the Program Staff to set up an initial screening appointment. Applicants should be prepared to provide the following documents at the screening meeting:
- Photo Identification of head of household.
- Veteran Status—DD Form 214.
- Veteran Information Solution (VIS) or Hospital Inquiry System (HINQ) from local VAMC eligibility section.
- VBA letter verifying award of a service connected disability benefit (any percentage).
- VISTA Print Outs
- Income Status—Verifying documents of all current sources of household income, bank statements, & assets within the last 30 days.
- Housing Status—Verification of housing, homelessness, previous housing and planned housing, including leases, utilities invoices and payments.
The service area for the VOA Chesapeake SSVF Program is Caroline, Fairfax , Arlington, Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier, Culpepper, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Essex, King William, King George, King and Queen counties and the Cities of Alexandria and Fredericksburg.
In FY 2015-2016, the VOAC Veteran Services/SSVF program have served 252 veteran families
Referrals will be accepted and screened to determine what other services may be provided depending on the veteran client situation. Program and Intake staff can be contacted at 844.461.2892.