Creating a reasonable housing plan

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It is the policy of the VA to support a “Housing First” model in the approach to addressing and ending homelessness. Housing First establishes housing stability as the primary intervention in working with homeless persons.
I. Any SSVF Housing Stabilization Plan should have several key characteristics:

  • The ultimate goal is to obtain and/or retain permanent housing.

  • If the household is living in a situation that jeopardizes their safety, such as on the streets, the initial Plan must focus on immediate resolution of the crisis.

  • If the household is at imminent risk of losing housing that they can and should keep, the initial Plan must focus on preserving that housing.

  • Intermediate goals are designed to achieve milestones that are necessary to obtain or retain permanent housing.

  • Program participants have input and final decision for all goals, actions steps and timelines.

  • Action steps to achieve goals are clear, simple-to-understand, measurable, and can be accomplished within a relatively short period of time.

  • Case manager and/or participant responsibility is designated for each action step.

  • A target date is set for completion (or review) of the steps and the overall Plan.

The overarching goal in all SSVF Housing Plans is always stabilizing permanent housing, but this may require several intermediate goals and frequent updating of the action steps before that final goal is achieved. Thus there would rarely be one single Plan that guides household and case manager’s efforts throughout participation in the SSVF program. The following progression of the Housing Stabilization Plan(s) may be used as a general guide for programs as they follow the participant from: 1.Immediate crisis resolution, to 2. Short-term planning for preventing or resolving homelessness (prevention or rapid re-housing), to 3. Follow-up or post-program planning. All SSVF programs will not necessarily utilize all three stages of Housing Stabilization Plans for every participant. The number and sequence of Plans/revisions will depend upon the household’s situation and the SSVF grantee’s program design, but will normally fall into three stages:

  1. Crisis Resolution Plan. Not all households will need a Crisis Resolution Plan but for some participants, the first and (until resolved) only goal may be focused on resolving an immediate crisis that jeopardizes safety, such as:

  • A family with small children is living in their car, in dangerously cold weather.

  • A Veteran is facing domestic violence if she does not leave her home; she has no safe alternatives.

  1. Short-Term Prevention or Rapid Re-Housing Plan. When a participant is safe, the Housing Stabilization Plan will focus on homelessness prevention or rapid re-housing goals, the core of the SSVF program. While permanent housing is the ultimate goal, intermediate objectives may be necessary. An intermediate goal for a homeless participant may be “move into subsidized SRO unit.” Once explored in more detail, the SRO may have a waiting list—so another intermediate goal must be selected (such as “obtain efficiency, with shallow rent subsidy, while waiting for subsidized SRO unit to become available”). These intermediate goals, once achieved, help the household progress toward the final goal. So this stage may include more than one revision of the Housing Stabilization Plan.

  1. Post-Program/”Aftercare” Plan. Finally, many SSVF programs help program participants plan for continued housing stability after leaving SSVF and all offer assistance in connecting households to ongoing community resources. The Post-Program Plan would usually include these additional referrals. The case manager will generally have limited or no responsibility (depending upon program design) for action steps once the household exits the program.

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