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Hefner VA helps to house homeless vets in Charlotte

SALISBURY — A collaborative team of non-profit organizations, the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center, local veterans organizations, city and county government, Charlotte Housing Authority, the faith community, landlords and other dedicated stakeholders completed a 100-day initiative to house some of Charlotte’s most challenged residents, including homeless veterans.
The “Acceleration to Housing 100 in 100 Days” initiative began on May 15, after the Charlotte team completed a Rapid Results Acceleration Boot Camp held by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. The boot camp, held in Chicago, provided information and tools to develop goals and steps for a 100-day action plan to help put Charlotte on the path to end chronic and veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.
In Chicago, Charlotte representatives set an ambitious goal of housing 100 chronically homeless individuals in 100 days with 20 percent of those housed being veterans.
“During the past 100 days, this collaborative team met weekly to develop a plan which identifies our community’s most challenged chronically homeless individuals, mobilizes and expedites resources, promotes policy changes and ensures supportive services for housing stability,” said co-team leader Amanda Coker.
“The 100 day initiative ended on September 6, and we are proud to report that 152 chronically homeless individuals, consisting of 105 households, have moved into housing,” said co-team leader Kimberly Stephens. This accomplishment effectively quadruples our prior housing placement rate of 14 per month.
Much of the plans and lessons learned will be used well beyond this 100-day initiative. The next 100-day initiative will be to house 100 chronically homeless households within 100 days, affectionately known as “100 Homes for the Holidays.” By maintaining this housing rate, it is in fact possible for Charlotte to end chronic homelessness by the end of 2015.
Co-team leaders Amanda Coker and Kimberly Stephens, employees of the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center, along with Pam Jefsen with Supportive Housing Communities, have been asked to present on their success with the 100 day initiative at the North Carolina VA Summit in Raleigh, in an attempt to replicate the “boot camp” process throughout other communities in North Carolina.

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