Veteran Housing Initiative
Ending Veteran Homelessness in Sacramento County by the End of 2015
Sacramento Steps Forward is putting out a call to the community to help us ensure that all veterans in Sacramento County are provided with a safe, permanent home. Since January, SSF has been working to end veteran homelessness in Sacramento County as part of Community Solutions’ Zero:2016 initiative. This effort is consistent with President Obama’s goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015, and also aligns with the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, in which Sacramento is participating.
Several major cities across the United States have achieved functional zero for homeless veterans, including New Orleans, Houston, and Phoenix. Functional zero means that more people are being served by and moving through the homeless services system than are waiting to get in. While individuals will still experience a housing crisis, they should not have to wait very long to access shelter and begin to move toward stable, permanent housing.
Achieving functional zero for any population requires coordination among service providers, government agencies, and local community and business organizations. Through its Common Cents program, Sacramento Steps Forward is focused on:
- Aligning resources available through the United States Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and local veteran-related services providers to streamline access to housing, healthcare, benefits, and other services,
- Finding veterans experiencing homelessness and conducting a vulnerability index assessment to determine their needs,
- Connecting veterans with documents, services, and benefits they need to obtain housing, and
- Identifying potential landlords and property owners to provide permanent homes for veterans.
Since January, Sacramento Steps Forward and its community partners have found permanent homes for nearly 400 veterans. To achieve our goal of ending veteran homelessness in our community, we must house a total of 668 veterans by year’s end. We need help from landlords and property owners across the region to house a remaining 250 veterans.
Sometimes, the population Sacramento Steps Forward serves has difficulty accessing housing because of past evictions, legal issues, and bad credit. SSF has taken steps to increase access to the rental market for this population including:
- Creating a role in the organization that will help develop relationships with local property managers and provide support to rental housing operators in the region.
- Adopting a nationally recognized education program designed to help formerly homeless individuals develop the skills and practices needed to be reliable tenants.
- Establishing a 24-hour hotline for landlords to call in case of an emergency.
- Developing a restitution fund to cover property damages beyond the security deposit.
- Joining the Rental Housing Association to learn more about property owners’ needs and concerns, and to help educate them about the benefits of partnering with Sacramento Steps Forward on this effort.
Sacramento Steps Forward will monitor and share progress towards this goal on this page. If you are a property owner or landlords interested in supporting Sacramento Steps Forward’s efforts to meet the goal of ending veteran homelessness by year’s end, send an email to email@example.com and our Landlord Liaison will contact you to schedule an initial appointment.