Upstate Continuum of Care celebrates over 300 veterans housed in 2022February 2, 2023
The Upstate Continuum of Care (CoC) and Columbia VA Healthcare System successfully reached their 2022 goal to house 323 veterans in the Upstate and Midlands.
Established in 2016, this multi-agency collaborative is seeking to be the first community in South Carolina to declare an effective end to veteran homelessness. Achieving this 2022 milestone in partnership with the Columbia VA Healthcare System signals major progress toward that goal.
Lead by United Housing Connections, the Upstate CoC brings veteran service providers such as Housing & Urban Development/Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, Veterans Affairs Grant and Per Diem Program, Alston Wilkes Society, Upstate Warrior Solution, and others together twice a month to review a master list of veterans experiencing homelessness in the Upstate and to discuss case management efforts. “United Housing Connections serves as the engine behind the CoC,” says UHC’s CEO Lorain Crowl. “Our overarching goal is to build a homeless response system that efficiently provides permanent housing solutions, resulting in effective zero veteran homelessness.”
Effective zero will be achieved when the number of veterans housed consistently exceeds the number of newly identified homeless. Since November of 2018, the CoC has connected with 708 veterans experiencing homelessness. Of that total, 410 have been permanently housed and 65 non permanently housed. Currently, there are 128 veterans in various stages of being permanently housed.
While the CoC has made great strides to improve the Upstate’s homeless veteran response system, there are still many opportunities for growth. These include developing a wider network of partner landlords who accept Housing Choice Vouchers and lease to participants for short term rental assistance. Another gap is housing solutions for veterans who are not eligible for VA- funded resources. Increased support from local government such as flexible funding and municipal staff engagement will be key, as will community-driven solutions for transitional housing and wrap-around resources for veterans exiting homelessness.
With affordable housing an on-going concern in the Upstate, the 2022 success of the CoC is a win not only for the collaborative but for the community as a whole. “There’s still a great deal of work needed to achieve effective zero for veteran homelessness in South Carolina,” says Upstate Warrior Solution president Charlie Hall. “But the success the Upstate Continuum of Care has experienced shows that collaboration can in fact move the needle on these complex issues.”
About the Upstate Continuum of Care (CoC) and United Housing Connections
The Upstate CoC is a community of individuals and providers that organize and deliver housing and services to people experiencing homelessness as they move to stable housing and maximum self-sufficiency. It is made up of more than 150 agencies, citizens and volunteers serving 13 counties across the Upstate and aims to make homelessness brief, rare and non-recurring. United Housing Connections is proud to be the US Dept. of HUD appointed lead agency for the Upstate Continuum of Care. For more information visit www.upstatecoc.org.
About HUD-VASH & VA Grant and Per Diem Programs
The VA is committed to ending homelessness among our Veterans. The VA Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program’s mission is to have no Veteran be without a home in the nation they served. Since 2010, the number of Veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States has declined by more than 55%. This has been accomplished through dedicated outreach efforts that proactively seek out Veterans in need of assistance. Unsheltered Veterans are offered immediate transitional housing through our Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Transitional Housing Program. The program boasts 37 transitional housing beds in the Upstate. The Housing and Urban Development/VA Supportive Housing Program (HUD/VASH) coordinates with the local housing authorities to provide Veterans with permanent housing solutions utilizing a Housing Choice Voucher. The VA provides intensive case management services to Veterans in the program to help them to re-learn the skills needed to live independently in the community. To learn more about the VA Homeless programs go to our website: VA Homeless Programs.
About Upstate Warrior Solution
Upstate Warrior Solution is a community-based, nonprofit organization serving warriors and their families in the Upstate of South Carolina. Their mission is to connect warriors and their family members to resources and opportunities, lead them through the process of self- empowerment, and inspire the community to embrace local warriors and their family members as valued neighbors and friends. Since their inception in 2013, Upstate Warrior Solution has helped over 9,000 unique warriors and their families, working with them and community partners to assist with housing, employment, healthcare, education, and family support services. Although they have already made an impact on thousands of warriors, they hope to connect with each one of the 100,000 veterans living in the Upstate. To learn more about Upstate Warrior’s mission click here to view their website.