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Safe Havens and Homeless Vets Low Demand/Safe Haven Programs Paul Smits Senior Policy Analyst VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans Florida.

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Presentation on theme: "Safe Havens and Homeless Vets Low Demand/Safe Haven Programs Paul Smits Senior Policy Analyst VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans Florida."— Presentation transcript:

1 Safe Havens and Homeless Vets Low Demand/Safe Haven Programs Paul Smits Senior Policy Analyst VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans Florida Mental Health Institute University Of South Florida

2 Why Do We Need New Approaches like Safe Havens?

3 The Chronically Homeless and Traditional Homeless Programs Require sobriety and compliance with TX as a condition of admission Require sobriety and compliance with TX as a condition of continued stay

4 The Low Demand/Safe Haven Model Targets chronically homeless with mental illness and substance use problems Targets Veterans who have failed in traditional programs Does not require sobriety or compliance with MH TX as a condition of admission Does not require sobriety or compliance with MH TX as a condition of continued stay Demands are kept to a minimum Environment of care is non-intrusive as possible Rules focus on staff and resident safety

5 W What? No Rules?

6 What are the rules? No dealing or use of illicit drugs in the facility No buying or selling of alcohol or drugs in the facility No sexual activity between residents No violence or threats of violence

7 House Rules and Expectations Rules are kept to a minimum Simple and easily understood Focus on safety of residents and staff Infractions are used to engage residents

8 Demands are Minimal But Expectations Are High Focus on Keeping the Resident Stably Housed

9 The Four Demonstration Model Programs Bedford/Boston Bronx Philadelphia Tampa/Bay Pines

10 HUD Safe Haven Program Authorized by McKinney-Vento Act of 1994 Congress has not appropriated funds for Safe Havens Funded from HUD’s Supportive Housing Program HUD has not published regulations for Safe Havens

11 HUD Safe Haven Requirements Safe Haven Design The Safe Haven must comply with all SHP requirements in addition to specific Safe Haven requirements: Must serve hard-to-reach homeless persons with severe mental illnesses who are on the streets and have been unable or unwilling to participate in supportive services Must allow 24-hour residence for an unspecified duration Must have private or semi-private accommodations Must limit overnight occupancy to no more than 25 persons May include a drop-in center as part of outreach activities; and Is a low demand facility where participants have access to needed services, but are not required to utilize them

12 Key Differences in VA’s Safe Haven Program Program is a Model Development Initiative HCHV contract funding authority is used to support the program Program has time limits Carries the expectation that veterans and their families will transition to permanent housing Program effectiveness and fidelity will be measured on an ongoing basis

13 Are Safe Havens Effective? The Ward Family Foundation Study Review of 79 Safe Haven Programs Identified Best Practices of Safe Havens Further Reference: shtml

14 Best Practices of Safe Havens Smaller is better Privacy (private room) is desired by both residents and staff Best facilities stayed fully occupied 80% of time

15 More Best Practices Admission Practices -Staff assist residents with admission forms -Facility allowed trial visits to see if there was a “good fit” Admission Criteria -Will not accept unless truly homeless -Target dually diagnosed chronic homeless -Targets those who cannot or will not be served by other homeless programs

16 More Best Practices Services Available to Residents -Case Management Services -Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment -Vocational Services *Services are not a condition of admission or continued stay

17 More Best Practices Daily Life -Opportunities available for residents to participate in program governance -Senior residents provide mentoring and positive support to new residents -Facility provided programs of general interest (sports, cooking classes, birthday parties, etc) -Facility provided incentives for doing daily chores

18 Serving the Hard to Serve New Models New Approaches Innovation


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