How HVAF’s case manager helped Army veteran change her life!July 11, 2023
Meet Team HVAF: Transition in Place (TIP) Case Manager SarahJuly 11, 2023
Recently the Coalition for Homeless Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) and the Indianapolis Continuum of Care released the 2023 Indianapolis Annual Point In Time Count report. This report, prepared by the Institute for Community Alliances, satisfies a federal requirement to monitor progress toward preventing and ending homelessness.
The Point In Time (PIT) Count was conducted on January 23 and utilized volunteers, including some from HVAF, to attempt to count the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in our community, including those staying in shelters, transitional housing facilities, and those living unsheltered. While this is a challenging task and is somewhat inaccurate due to the transient nature of the population, it is the best measure available.
I want to highlight a few data points from this year’s report:
-1,619 individuals experiencing homelessness, including 182 veterans.
-357 individuals living unsheltered, including 27 veterans.
-31% decrease in rapid rehousing/rental assistance beds due to reduced funding
Sadly, this report reflects an increase in homelessness among veterans, especially veterans living unsheltered. Veterans are more likely to be homeless than non-veterans, and this year’s report reflects just that. 11 percent of those experiencing homelessness in Indianapolis are veterans, compared to only 5% of local residents having served in the military.
The report also notes a 31% reduction in rapid rehousing assistance for those experiencing homelessness due to funding cuts. Rapid rehousing programs enroll those experiencing homelessness or facing eviction and assist with deposits, rent, and utilities. Much of the emergency assistance available through the CARES Act and later the American Rescue Program was utilized to increase the amount rapid rehousing assistance available, including at HVAF.
So, what does this data really mean?
The short answer is I believe we are beginning to understand the impact of higher costs of living, including housing, utility, and grocery costs, as well as decreasing assistance for the most vulnerable in our community. With the end of the public health emergency, and with it a decrease of much needed funding, I am worried we will see this trend continue.
All year, we’ve been seeing increased demand for our programs, especially housing and basic needs assistance. So far this year, nearly 1,000 individual veterans have been served at HVAF. Every month, visits to our pantry increase. In May, 271 veterans received basic needs assistance through our food, clothing, and hygiene pantries. And, so far this year, our team has helped 153 veterans move into permanent housing.
Although we would love to celebrate another year with fewer homeless veterans on our streets, that’s just not reality. The reality is that there are hundreds of veterans facing homelessness right here in our community.
We’re ready to help. Are you?