VA Homeless Programs
Virtual Editorial Roundtables: Partnership Roundtable
Ending Veteran Homelessness Through Community Partnerships
March 17, 2016, 2–3 p.m. EST
Since the White House announced an ambitious goal to end Veteran homelessness in 2009, more than 20 jurisdictions around the country have met it. With over 850 state, city and county leaders on record as accepting first lady Michelle Obama’s challenge to also end Veteran homelessness where they live, more and more communities are expected to make similar announcements in the coming weeks and months.
Partnerships play a critical role in ending Veteran homelessness community by community. Discussing the role of partnerships and other best practices, this roundtable features representatives from New Orleans and Virginia, respectively the first city and state to have met federal guidelines in ending Veteran homelessness, and Team AMVETS, a California-based nonprofit that collaborates with VA and others to house Veterans.
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- Anthony Love (Moderator), senior advisor and director of community engagement, Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Homeless Programs
- Sharon Elefant, Veteran outreach and community development manager, Team AMVETS Department of California Service Foundation
- Martha J. Kegel, attorney and executive director of UNITY of Greater New Orleans
- Matt Leslie, director of housing development for Veterans, Virginia Department of Veterans Services
VA News and Media Coverage
- When 'Zero' is Possible: How One State and Two Cities Ended Veteran Homelessness | NeighborWorks Guest Blog by Anthony Love | Posted March 17, 2016
- Partnerships Help in Ending Veteran Homelessness, Anthony Love, VAntage Point (June 29, 2016)
- Ending Veteran Homelessness Community By Community, VA Secretary Bob McDonald, The Huffington Post (Dec. 14, 2015)
- Team AMVETS Provides Formerly Homeless Veterans With Furniture, Appliances and More, VA Homeless Program Success Story (Jan. 8, 2016)
- New Orleans Becomes First City to End Veteran Homelessness, New Orleans News Release (Jan. 7, 2015)
- Virginia is the First State in the Nation to Functionally End Veteran Homelessness, Virginia News Release (Nov. 11, 2015)
Anthony Love (Moderator) is the senior advisor and director of community engagement for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Homeless Programs. In this role, he develops and implements strategies to improve VA’s engagement with government and community stakeholders to ensure every resource is available to Veterans so they can exit homelessness. He also advises Lisa Pape, the executive director of VHA Homeless Programs, on operational and strategic opportunities; identifies and recommends best practices related to homeless solutions and community, state and local government engagement; and facilitates alignment of VHA operations and research functions. In accumulating nearly 20 years of experience in homelessness and poverty issues, Mr. Love previously served as deputy director for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), site director for the Houston office of the nonprofit United States Veterans Initiative and president and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County. He earned a master’s of arts degree in public administration from the University of Missouri‐Kansas City.
Sharon Elefant has served as Veteran outreach and community development manager for Team AMVETS Department of California Service Foundation since June 2013. In this role she directs and develops partnerships with federal, local and state government; nonprofits; and the private sector. She also leads all fundraising activities, securing grants from corporations, foundations and private individuals. Ms. Elefant developed the Team AMVETS Welcome Home Program, which has furnished the homes of over 2,300 Veterans and their families. Prior to joining Team AMVETS, Ms. Elefant held health and homeless program management roles with the VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) in Seattle and San Diego, and the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network serving Southern California and Southern Nevada. Ms. Elefant holds a bachelor’s of science in health management and policy from Oregon State University, a master’s of health administration from University of Washington and a global health certificate. She is currently pursuing her doctorate of health administration at Central Michigan University.
Martha J. Kegel is an attorney and executive director of UNITY of Greater New Orleans, a collaborative of 60 agencies providing housing and services to prevent, reduce and end homelessness in the New Orleans area. In partnership with Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the local VA and an array of housing providers, UNITY coordinated a campaign that resulted in New Orleans becoming, as of Jan. 2, 2015, the first city to effectively end Veteran homelessness. Now UNITY coordinates the “functional zero” campaign, which seeks to guarantee that Veterans who become homeless are permanently housed within an average of 30 days. Ms. Kegel is a graduate of Stanford Law School, a Skadden Fellow alumnus and former law clerk for the chief judge of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Previously, she directed a legal services project for the homeless, served as executive director of the Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and was associate director of the Northern California ACLU. In 2002, Ms. Kegel received the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Career Public Interest Award.
Matt Leslie is director of housing development for Veterans, a unit of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS). Mr. Leslie coordinates Veteran homelessness and housing issues statewide. He assists communities to collaboratively develop and enhance systems through partnerships with local, state and federal entities, including coordinating with the six VAMCs that serve Virginia Veterans. With the support of Gov. Terence R. McAuliffe, these efforts led to Virginia becoming the first state to meet the federal criteria of functionally ending Veteran homelessness. Before joining VDVS, Mr. Leslie worked at the Virginia Department of Housing and Development as both a homeless and special needs program administrator and a housing policy analyst. Mr. Leslie earned his bachelor’s degree in geography from James Madison University and a master’s of social work (policy and planning) from Virginia Commonwealth University.
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