In 2010, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) introduced the first comprehensive federal strategy to prevent and end homelessness. This plan, called Opening Doors, outlined a number of goals related to ending homelessness in the U.S. – the first of these committed to ending Veteran homelessness by 2016.
In 2015, the USICH, along with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), adopted a vision of what it means to end homelessness and shared specific criteria and benchmarks for ending Veteran homelessness in order to help guide communities as they take action to achieve the goal, with a focus on long-term, lasting solutions.
In line with the federal goals outlined in Opening Doors, the Ohio Balance of State Continuum of Care (BoSCoC) has committed to a goal of ending Veteran homelessness in the CoC by 2017. To that end, the Ohio BoSCoC has focused recent efforts on expanding availability of critical housing resources for homeless Veterans and improving our coordinated system response. The Ohio BoSCoC has determined that ending Veteran homelessness in our CoC means the following:
Where Veteran homelessness does occur, it is rare, brief, and non-recurring. More specifically, every identified homeless Veteran who is unsheltered in emergency shelter or in Transitional Housing in the Ohio BoSCoC is provided permanent housing, if they want it, within an average of 30 days. To achieve this, the Ohio BoSCoC is committed to the principles of Housing First, which means our system is primarily focused on quick placement into permanent housing, respecting Veteran choice, and targeting our resources to those with greatest needs.
Using the federal criteria and benchmarks as our map, the Ohio BoSCoC has developed a coordinated and standardized response to Veteran homelessness, resulting in a significant step toward our goal of ending Veteran homelessness.