NYT: Study Finds Homeless Veterans Stay Homeless Longer Than Others

November 8, 2011


New York Times



Study Finds Homeless Veterans Stay Homeless Longer Than Others



Once veterans become homeless, they are likely to remain homeless longer than non-veterans. And they are also more likely to report having serious health problems, according to a new report by an advocacy group, the 100,000 Homes Campaign.



The report is based on surveys conducted over several years with 23,000 homeless people, of which nearly 3,500 were veterans. Officials with the campaign said the surveys were drafted with the intention of finding out more about why veterans are disproportionately represented among the homeless population. (The survey found that while veterans are 9 percent of the total population, they were more than 15 percent of the homeless people surveyed. That is similar to the findings of a recent federal report on homeless veterans.)

They found no clear answers, but came up with some interesting data. Perhaps most significantly, veterans on average reported being homeless for 5.7 years, significantly longer than the 3.9 years reported by non-veterans. And 62 percent of veterans reported having been homeless for two years or longer, compared with half of non-veterans.


National Survey of Homeless Veterans


Read the full report from the 100,000 Homes Campaign.



The report notes that older people tend to be homeless longer — and indeed the survey found that 21 percent of the veterans in its sample were over 60 years old, while only about 9 percent of the non-veterans were over that age. But the report asserted that age alone could not explain why veterans seem to be living on the street or in shelters longer than other people, as researchers found that even after controlling for age, veterans were homeless longer.



Like the federal report from last month, which found that homeless veterans were more likely to have disabilities, the 100,000 Homes report found that homeless veterans in its sample more often reported health problems, including liver or kidney disease, emphysema, tuberculosis, heart disease or hepatitis C.



The survey also found that veterans who had been homeless for 2 years or longer were substantially more likely to have served time in jail or prison, and to have a substance abuse problem, than veterans who had been homeless for less than 2 years.



The survey was conducted by volunteers trained by community organizations or by the campaign itself, which is a project of Community Solutions, a nonprofit group. The year-old campaign has set a goal of working to help communities find permanent housing for 100,000 homeless people by 2013.

Click here to access the full article.


Advocacy Alert: House McKinney Sign-On Letter Circulating

The National Alliance to End Homelessness just released is urgent advocacy alert:

Representatives Alcee Hastings (D-TX), Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) are circulating a congressional sign-on letter to their colleagues in the House, requesting an increase for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants in fiscal year (FY) 2012. The deadline for representatives to join the letter is TOMORROW, November 10. 


We need your help getting as many signatures as possible!  


What You Can Do:   

  1. Find out if your representative already signed the letter or if he/she signed onto a previous McKinney sign-on letter last May, which called for about $2.4 billion in FY 2012 (list of signatories here).
  2. If your representative already signed the letter, thank him/her! If not, call your representatives’ offices TODAY. Ask to speak to the person who handles housing issues. (Office phone numbers can be found by dialing the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121.)
  3. Ask the staff if their bosses will join the McKinney sign-on letter by Thursday. If they signed the letter last May, remind them that they supported an increase just a few months ago. If they agree to sign on, have the office contact Mindy Reinstein in Rep. Hasting’s office at mindy.reinstein@mail.house.gov to join.

Finalizing FY 2012 HUD Funding

Congress is working to finalize the FY 2012 funding level for HUD programs, including McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, in the coming days. The official House-Senate Conference Committee met last Thursday to formally begin the process of working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the FY 2012 HUD funding bill and to negotiate a final version. While the final details are being worked out, we must convince Congress to provide additional resources to HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs.


In addition to reaching out to your representatives about the sign-on letter, please contact both your representatives and senators THIS WEEK and ask them to work with their colleagues on the Conference Committee to provide an INCREASE in funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs. Sample talking points for your conversation are available here.


Negotiators on the Conference Committee hope to finalize the legislation, H.R. 2112, early next week, when members of the House return to Washington, DC from their Veterans Day recess. Congressional leaders hope to pass the bill next week and send it to the President for his signature by next Friday, November 18.


The current stopgap measure funding the government expires on November 18. H.R. 2112 is being referred to as a “minibus” because it would provide FY 2012 funding for the Departments of Transportation, HUD, Agriculture, Commerce, and Justice, and some related programs and agencies. Congress hopes to use H.R. 2112 to finalize the FY 2012 funding levels for these agencies and to provide stopgap funding beyond November 18, likely into December, for the remaining federal departments not included in the minibus.


The Measure of Poverty: A Boston Indicators Project Special Report

On November 9th The Boston Foundation released a new report entitled The Measure of Poverty: A Boston Indicators Project Special Report.  The Boston Indicators Project’s report found Suffolk County to be among the most unequal counties in the nation due to the uneven impact of the regional knowledge economy on those with more and less education. It also noted the increasing stress on low-income households in a high-cost city and region.  Today, almost three years after the onset of the Great Recession, those stresses are greater than ever.


The Boston Globe ran an article this morning in conjunction with the release of the report.  The Globe article highlights growing inequity in the City of Boston and the concentration of that poverty in communities of color.  Click here to read the full article. 


Click here to access the The Boston Foundation Report.

HomeBASE Update

Late last week, the House and the Senate passed a supplemental budget that would make changes to the HomeBASE and Emergency Assistance programs.  The Governor is expected to sign the supplemental budget imminently and DHCD is poised to implement the changes included in the budget language. HomeBASE and EA have experienced significant budget challenges this fiscal year due in part to the high demand for housing and shelter assistance and the unexpectedly high use of rental assistance, rather than household assistance within HomeBASE. The supplemental budget will provide $21 million for EA and $18.2 million for HomeBASE, but this increase will not be enough to allow HomeBASE to continue offering the same benefit it has offered to families.


The supplemental budget gives DHCD, Administration and Finance, and the Legislature until December 9, 2011 to develop a plan to increase financial sustainability within Emergency Assistance and HomeBASE.


The supplemental includes the following provisions (subject to change after December 9, 2011)

1. Families who apply for EA/HomeBASE on or after October 29th will not have access to rental assistance under HomeBASE.

2. These families will have access to Household Assistance (up to $4,000 to pay for arrearages, utilities, or other costs that will allow the family to stay housed).

3. HomeBASE’s Rental Assistance will be available for:

  • Families in a short-term housing program such as Flex Funds or HPRP as of October 28th,
  • Families who were approved for rental assistance as of October 28th,
  • Families who were already living in a temporary accommodation, shelter or motel as of October 28th will have access to rental assistance.
  •  Families who are already living in an apartment using HomeBASE rental assistance will continue to receive assistance.

4.  Emergency Assistance shelter eligibility will not change.


Click here to access the revised HomeBASE notice distributed by DHCD (11-8-11) about these changes.  Click here to access the HomeBASE Impact Chart that clarifies the impact of these changes on applicants to EA and HomeBASE.

New Comissioner at Department of Transitional Assistance

The Patrick-Murray Administration announced today that Julia Kehoe, Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance, will assume a new role as Senior Advisor on Policy Development in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Kehoe will transition to this new position on November 18.


“Commissioner Kehoe has a deep commitment to public service, and it has shown in her leadership at the Department of Transitional Assistance,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Low-income individuals and families have no more passionate advocate than Julia Kehoe, and I am thankful for her service to the people of the Commonwealth as Commissioner.”


“Commissioner Kehoe has played a vital role in our leadership team and has led the Administration’s efforts to support low-income individuals and families on their path to self-sufficiency,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. “Particularly in a time when government has had to do more with less, Commissioner Kehoe’s leadership and commitment to the needs of this diverse constituency have been invaluable to our Commonwealth. I am thankful for her service as Commissioner and look forward to her joining the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.”


Kehoe has served as Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) since 2007. Under her leadership, the Department has increased the amount of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits coming into Massachusetts by more than $70 million per month and continued to manage a caseload that has more than doubled, despite budget challenges associated with the national economic climate. DTA also made improvements to the SNAP application process by streamlining applications for elders and people with disabilities and establishing longer recertification periods; standard medical deductions; expanded categorical eligibility; and pre-filled re-certification forms. The Department has won millions of dollars in SNAP High Performance Bonus Awards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Commissioner Kehoe also established the innovative DTA Works program, which provides support and job training to hundreds of cash assistance clients through internship opportunities at local DTA offices. The Department also hosted the first-ever Statewide Hunger Summit; launched satellite offices and SNAP Outreach Centers; established 16 local office Advisory Boards; and worked with the Department of Agricultural Resources to expand EBT access at Farmers’ Markets.


“Every day, the dedicated staff of the Department of Transitional Assistance make meaningful contributions to people’s lives, and I have been honored to serve as Commissioner,” Commissioner Kehoe said. “I am proud of the work we have done to assist Massachusetts’ lowest income residents meet their basic needs, increase their incomes and improve their quality of life. I thank Governor Patrick and Secretary Bigby for the opportunity to continue to serve the people of the Commonwealth and look forward to contributing more to the important work of this Administration moving forward.”


Daniel Curley Appointed as New DTA Commissioner


Governor Patrick also announced the appointment of Daniel J. Curley as the new Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance. Mr. Curley currently serves as Executive Director of JRI Health, a division of Justice Resource Institute (JRI) Health, a regional human services organization that pursues social justice through providing underserved youth, adults and families with opportunities to develop skills essential for autonomy and wellbeing. These services include housing and supportive services for at-risk youth, including GLBTQ identified youth and adults. In this role, he has enhanced consumer voice and involvement at all levels of the organization, while building management capacity.


Before joining JRI in 2005, Curley served as Executive Director of Cambridge Cares about AIDS, where he instituted a model program for homeless youth that provided case management, mental health, health and dental services. Mr. Curley served as chair of the Cambridge City Public Health Board and President of HousingWorks, Inc. during the development of this national model of an affordable housing data system. Previously, he was Director of Operations for Behavioral Health Services at the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury.


“Dan Curley has a proven commitment to developing and implementing high-quality services for people in need,” Secretary Bigby said. “We welcome him to the Patrick-Murray Administration and look forward to the many contributions that he will make to our efforts to support low-income individuals and families during challenging times.”


“I am honored to join with DTA staff in meeting the diverse needs of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents,” said Dan Curley. “The staff form one-on-one relationships with clients and provide meaningful interventions that net real outcomes for individuals and families. Together, we will continue to help support individuals and families on the road to self-sufficiency.”


Mr. Curley holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education and a Master’s degree in Education, Organizational Development and Life Long Learning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He will assume his new role as Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance on November 21.

Job Posting – Fundraising Events Coordinator

Are you looking to work for an organization with a strong local presence and reputation where your contribution is valued? FBMS seeks an experienced event planner to execute internal and external fundraising events, reporting directly to the chief development officer. This is a great opportunity to join our dynamic fundraising team at Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS).


A successful events coordinator at FBMS must have a strong affinity for event management, be an enthusiastic professional and able to build relationships to ensure seamless and profitable events.


Click here to access the full job description.

HomeBASE Update: Legislature Supports Supplemental Budget for EA and HomeBASE

Since the August launch of the Commonwealth’s new program, HomeBASE, the system has experienced an unexpectedly high demanded that neither Emergency Assistance or HomeBASE was budgeted to meet.

In order to avoid a full suspension of HomeBASE the Administration requested $21 million in supplemental funds for Emergency Assistance and $18 million for HomeBASE, and proposed to make programmatic changes to HomeBASE to make the program more financially stable. The Legislature has approved the supplemental budget.

Through the supplemental budget language the Legislature maintained the current Emergency Assistance eligibility, but eliminate the Rental Assistance component of HomeBASE for families that applied after October 28th.  HomeBASE will still be able to provide families at the front door with Household Assistance (1 time assistance up to $4,000) and will still be available for families exiting shelters and motels.

The supplemental budget language requires the Legislature and Administration to work together to create programmatic changes to ensure the continued and sustainable operation of Emergency Assistance and HomeBASE.  The language gave the Legislature and Administration until December 9th to release its recommendations.

Click here to access the Supplemental Budget language.

Important Information About Replacement SNAP Benefits for People Affected by the October 29 Snowstorm

This important message from the Commissioner’s office at the Dept. of Transitional Assistance was recently released.  Please distribute this information to families and programs impacted by the October 29th snowstorm.

Good afternoon,

As you know, thousands of people across the state were impacted by last Saturday’s snowstorm, and many are still without power.  The Department has received many requests for information about how people who lost food due to power outages can obtain replacement SNAP benefits.  Click here to access this information for your reference..

Please note, only current SNAP clients are able to request these household misfortune replacement SNAP benefits.

We hope this information is helpful, and apologize if you receive this email more than once.

Thank you.

Click here for more information.

State House News: Advocates for Violence Victims Seek Housing Protections

By Kyle Cheney

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, NOV. 1, 2011…..Property managers around Massachusetts have denied housing opportunities to victims of domestic assault and sexual violence, evicted women who are victims of attacks, and refused to permit victims to nix their leases, advocates for women and victims of violence argued Tuesday, urging lawmakers to support new housing protections.

“What we’re asking is to not hold victims accountable for the crimes against them,” said Maureen Gallagher of Jane Doe Inc. at a State House hearing of the Committee on Housing. “That individual shouldn’t be evicted or prevented from leaving.”

Gallagher was one of eight advocates representing organizations like the ACLU, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and the Women’s Bar Association who contended that stereotypes and stigmas often drive landlords’ actions toward victims of sexual and domestic assault. They urged the committee to back legislation that would permit a victim of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault or stalking to “terminate a rental agreement or tenancy” within 90 days of an incident.

Under the bills, owners would have the opportunity to request proof that an assault or domestic violence is occurring, such as an order of protection, or court and police records. Those records must be kept confidential, under the legislation. In addition, owners would be barred from terminating a tenancy, declining to renew a tenancy or barring a renter based on a person’s “status as a victim of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault or stalking.”

The bill also permits tenants to request a change of locks within two business days if they believe they are under “an imminent or ongoing threat” of violence and are able to pay a “reasonable” fee.

The bills, sponsored by Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst) and Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), are co-sponsored by about two dozen lawmakers.

“This bill is necessary to protect the interests of those women and their families,” said Nancy Cremins, president of the Women’s Bar Association. “Their home should be a safe place to go and you should be able to feel safe and secure that you won’t be evicted or you won’t be able to find a home because you are a victim of domestic violence.”

The pleas from the advocates fell on a short-handed committee. Only five of the committees’ seventeen members – co-chairs Rep. Kevin Honan and Sen. James Eldridge (D-Acton), and Reps. Russell Holmes (D-Boston), Sean Curran (D-Springfield) and Christopher Markey (D-Dartmouth) – attended all or portions of the hearing. Only one other hearing was occurring simultaneously and most lawmakers were expected to be on hand later in the day for votes on redistricting.

Eldridge wondered whether any landlords had proven willing to work with tenants who had experienced domestic violence, and advocates acknowledged that many had been supportive.

Click here to read the full article. 

Advocacy Alert from the National Alliance to End Homelessness

Congress is entering the home stretch as it begins to finalize decisions about FY 2012 funding for HUD programs, including McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. More details on the timeline are available below, but congressional leaders hope to begin making decisions THIS WEEK about how much money will be available overall for HUD and specifically for McKinney-Vento programs.


As you know, the stakes are high, so we need your help! We must ensure that Congress understands how important affordable housing and homelessness resources are for our communities – both for implementing the HEARTH Act and for addressing the increasing number of people likely to become homeless.





What You Can Do:

1.       Contact the housing staff person for your senators and representatives THIS WEEK.

  • NOTE: If your Member of Congress sits on the House or Senate Appropriations Committee, it is particularly important to contact his/her office.
  • Explain how important it is that Congress provides as much overall funding as possible for HUD programs and INCREASES funding for McKinney-Vento homeless assistance programs. Use the attached talking points as a guide.
  • Ask your Member of Congress to contact the leaders of the Appropriations Committee RIGHT AWAY to express his/her support for providing as much overall funding for HUD as possible and to specifically increase funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs.
  • Contact the National Alliance staff to let them know which office(s) you contacted by emailing me Amanda or Kate.

More Information

The Senate has combined three of its FY 2012 appropriations bills (Transportation-HUD; Agriculture; and Commerce, Justice, and Science) into one “mini-bus” piece of legislation, H.R. 2112. The Senate is expected to pass this bill today. It would set funding levels for HUD programs, including McKinney-Vento. H.R. 2112 would not provide the much-needed increase for McKinney-Vento programs.

Why Do McKinney Programs Need an Increase?

Both the House and Senate have proposed maintaining the current level of funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs, but we know that simply isn’t enough. The Alliance recently predicted that homelessness could increase by 5 percent, or 74,000 people, in the next three years if nothing is done – and this doesn’t take into account additional local, state, and federal budget cuts to affordable housing and targeted homelessness programs. Such an increase would be unacceptable.


The effort to increase HUD and McKinney funding is gaining momentum. In the last week, the New York Times has published two editorials about the need for more federal funding for HUD affordable housing and homelessness programs (one on October 26 and one on October 31). The second one noted:

Without an intensive federal effort to finance housing programs, the burden will fall on states and cities that are already unable to handle growing social needs…. Things would no doubt be considerably worse without the $1.5 billion homelessness prevention program that Congress passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. With that money, HUD helped to prevent more than a million people from becoming homeless. It provided them with short- and medium-term rental assistance, moving expenses and other services. It quickly re-housed those who landed in shelters. With most of that recovery money gone, it is important that Congress provide the $2.4 billion in homeless assistance funding that the administration has requested. (Emphasis added)


These editorials have added to the strong momentum YOU helped to create – let’s take advantage of that by telling Congress how important these programs are. We need your help! Please send the message of this New York Times editorial to your congressional delegation. Explain that your community desperately needs additional resources to fight homelessness, and that you’re counting on Congress to INCREASE funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs in the final FY 2012 HUD Appropriations Act.

Timeline: What Happens Next?

  • Today: The Senate will finish its debate on H.R. 2112, which combines its FY 2012 funding proposals for programs within HUD and several other federal departments and agencies. The legislation is expected to pass today.
  • Immediately afterward: Senate and House Appropriations Committee leaders are expected to begin meeting RIGHT AWAY to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions. Congressional leaders believe this compromise process will move quickly.
  • November 18: The current stopgap measure funding the government expires on November 18. Congress is widely expected to be unable to complete all of its FY 2012 appropriations by that date and will pass another stopgap measure through December. However, leaders may be able to complete the FY 2012 HUD funding bill before November 18. If this were to happen, the new stopgap measure would only apply to departments whose appropriations have not yet been finalized.

As you can see, the timeline for this process is likely to be very quick, so it’s imperative that we act NOW to affect the outcome.

Click here to access sample Congressional talking point on the importance of funding for McKinney-Vento.