On Monday, Long Beach was one of several cities recognized for its efforts aimed at ending veteran homelessness at the White House’s Veterans Homelessness Summit.
The City of Long Beach has offered every veteran experiencing homelessness a path to permanent supportive housing, adhering to the “Housing First” model. As a result, the city has achieved a “Functional Zero” with regard to the number of veterans who are homeless; the city is awaiting official certification from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“I am proud that Long Beach has been able to provide housing to 657 formerly homeless Veterans in the last two years and that First Lady Michelle Obama recognized this achievement at the White House today,” said Mayor Garcia in a statement. “Veterans have given so much to our country – we must do all we can to ensure that every Veteran has a home.”
The city has often touted its successes in curbing veterans homelessness, though the general homeless population in the city has grown. The last citywide homeless count conducted in January 2015 found over 2,300 homeless individuals living in the city, 255 of whom were children.
Also in attendance: City Manager Pat West, to add to the round table and share the city’s best practices for ending veteran homelessness.
“We are so proud of the efforts of the Homeless Services Division, Housing Authority, and all our employees who helped make this happen, and the City Council for their tremendous support for ending Veterans homelessness,” said West in a statement.
The city’s integrated care approach includes:
- A Housing First Model, based on the principle that people need quick access to permanent housing with no conditions for compliance regarding physical health, mental health and/or substance addiction treatment.
- Critical Time Intervention, to support and promote a continuity of care during critical times of transition as people move from homelessness to housing.
- Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) application and utilization processes are linked to Veteran-specific supportive services and financial assistance programming.
- Enhancing coordination among all partners.
- The Villages of Cabrillo, a 27-acre campus built to replace naval housing, actively works to break the cycle of veterans homelessness with housing and service engagement. It provides 520 veteran-specific permanent housing with an additional 75 set aside units in its new development, Anchor Place.