Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Office of Research & Development

print icon sign up for VA Research updates
VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
This Issue: Ensuring High-Quality Care | Table of Contents: Fall 2018 | Download this issue

Noteworthy Publications

Veteran profiles for VA homeless program use


VA researchers are studying how Veterans access and use homeless assistance services like rapid rehousing programs. <em>(Photo for illustrative purposes only.<em>(Photo ©iStock/ljubaphoto)</em>
VA researchers are studying how Veterans access and use homeless assistance services like rapid rehousing programs. (Photo for illustrative purposes only. ©iStock/ljubaphoto)

VA researchers are studying how Veterans access and use homeless assistance services like rapid rehousing programs. (Photo for illustrative purposes only. ©iStock/ljubaphoto)

VA researchers analyzed the records of over 61,000 homeless Veterans to find out which homeless assistance programs they used, how often they accessed services, and for what length of time. The team identified five different Veteran usage profiles that, they say, can inform future research into VA homeless assistance programs.

In a research brief published by the VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, Drs. Jack Tsai and Thomas Byrne analyzed data on homeless Veterans collected during the period 2015-2017. The investigators culled data from the Homeless Operations Management and Evaluation System, the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, and VA electronic medical records—available through the VA Corporate Data Warehouse.

Their intent was to evaluate how homeless Veterans in the study population were using VA homeless assistance programs. For the study, the researchers examined patterns of homeless program usage—breaking down the two-year study period into 24 discrete blocks of time. They assessed Veteran participation in the following VA homeless programs:

  • the Contract Residential or Safe Haven program
  • the Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans program
  • the Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional-Residence program
  • the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program
  • the Health Care for Homeless Veterans Case Management program
  • the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program
  • the SSVF Prevention
  • the SSVF Rapid Re-housing program

The majority—or 59 percent—of Veterans fell within the Brief Program profile. These Veterans typically made a one-time use of VA homeless programs, and their stays were relatively brief.

The Permanent Supported Housing Plus profile accounted for 21.4 percent of the study participants. Veterans in this group made long-term use of the HUD-VASH program, and often made use of a second VA housing program during the same month.

The Heavy Multiple Program Use profile accounted for only 3.4 percent of the cohort. Veterans in this group made heavy use of multiple VA homeless programs over the entire two years of the study.

The Transitional Housing Use profile made up 6.4 percent of study participants. Veterans in this group made heavy use of the GPD program.

The Rapid Rehousing Program Use profile accounted for 9.7 percent of study participants. This group was made up of Veterans who primarily used the SSVF rapid re-housing program for an extended period of time.

Following a shift in U.S. policy in 2009, VA created the SSVF program—one that emphasized homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing efforts. VA now operates a continuum of homeless assistance programs, recognizing that homeless Veterans have diverse needs that may include more than just temporary housing assistance. 

In 2018, HUD reported that the number of homeless Veterans had decreased by 5.4 percent during the past year. Since 2010, that represents nearly a 50 percent decline in homeless Veterans. Officials said in a VA press release that they attribute that decline, in large part, to "the effectiveness of the HUD-VASH program, which combines permanent HUD rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the VA."


Questions about the R&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.