To increase utilization of federal housing vouchers to house more local Veterans, King County, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the King County Housing Authority have joined forces to develop a pioneering new program to aid local Veterans. The Collaborative Case Management (CCM) Pilot Program will combine the power of VA and their federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers, the expertise of the King County Veterans Program social services staff, and housing units coordinated through the King County Housing Authority to help Veterans experiencing homelessness connect to safe and stable housing.
"King County is proud to join our partners at the VA and the King County Housing Authority to maximize federal and local assistance to house veterans and their families," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "Working together, we are creating housing and supportive services so that every Veteran returning to King County after serving our country can secure a safe and stable home."
"Nobody who serves in our military, risking their lives to defend us and our country, should experience homelessness," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough.
"That’s why we worked with King County to create the Collaborative Case Management Pilot program, which will maximize our capacity to help local Veterans obtain and maintain the stable housing they have earned. I hope this collaboration can serve as a nationwide model for preventing and ending Veterans homelessness, and VA looks forward to implementing similar partnerships in communities across America."
"When Veterans experiencing homelessness have the right opportunities, they can be successful," said VA Puget Sound Health Care System Director Michael Tadych. "Strong innovative federal, state, and local partnerships that place the needs of our Veterans front and center, like King County’s Collaborative Case Management Pilot program, are essential in ensuring our most vulnerable Veterans receive the support they need."
"We are thrilled to partner with the King County Veterans Program and VA to pilot this new approach to housing veterans and their families.
"Eliminating homelessness among those who have served their country is a moral imperative for our community.
"By combining our resources and efforts, we have the potential to make significant progress in getting these veterans off the streets," said Stephen Norman, Executive Director, King County Housing Authority.
The pilot is coordinated through the King County Veterans Program (KCVP), one of the most robust veterans programs in the nation thanks to the support of the residents of King County who have three times voted to approve the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy (VSHSL). The program launched in June.
The Collaborative Case Management (CCM) Pilot Program is a first-in-the-nation pilot that blends the rental assistance provided by a HUD-VASH housing voucher with a range of supportive services through KCVP, increasing utilization of VASH vouchers in King County and reaching a broader population of Veterans in need. The model serves low-income Veterans experiencing homelessness by pairing the federal vouchers that may otherwise have gone unused. The vouchers provide rental assistance and combine with KCVP’s supportive services to address obstacles that Veterans may be facing. Social Service Professionals (SSPs) at both KCVP’s Tukwila and new Northgate locations are available to help Veterans focus on maintaining their housing by providing support such as employment and training resources, access to physical and behavioral health services, and assistance with emergency food and other assistance. The King County Housing Authority is partnering in the program by identifying housing units and accepting the housing vouchers for eligible Veterans.
Eligible Veterans are connected to the CCM pilot program by working directly with KCVP or through community-based agencies that partner with KCVP’s services. Pairing HUD-VASH housing vouchers with KCVP’s supportive services helps Veterans not only find housing, but successfully maintain their housing and work towards healthy and thriving lives in their communities.
The first Veteran has been housed under the new CCM pilot. William Ingram, an Army Veteran who served in Korea now calls Burien home, thanks to the voucher he received through the CCM pilot. He is settling into his new home and is working with his social services professional at KCVP to connect to additional supportive services.
"The CCM program is the best program because it allows Veterans like myself to get housed sooner than being on a housing waiting list. I would recommend the CCM program to any Veteran experiencing homelessness," said William Ingram. "Now I do not have to stress, I can really focus on my health. I may need surgery again because the hardware in my knee needs to be replaced. Being in permanent housing thanks to the CCM program allows me to prepare for that. Also, I have plans to return to school – I have 10 credits left before I can receive my business associate degree."
The CCM pilot is another example of the strong, ongoing partnerships in the Veteran service system in King County, working together to solve complex problems for the Veteran community, including the issue of Veteran homelessness.