VA Homeless Programs
A Safe Haven is a 24hr/7 days a week community-based early recovery model of supportive housing that serves hard-to-reach and hard-to-engage Veterans with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders. The program does not demand treatment participation although it is available. The program does expect participants to transition from unsafe environments to permanent housing and re-engage with treatment.
There are a total of 23 Safe Havens, 22 of which are operational. Original sites are located in Bedford, Bay Pines, Tampa, Philadelphia and New York. In FY 2013, an additional 17 sites were funded: Austin, Chicago, San Francisco, Albuquerque, Detroit, Ft. Wayne, Kansas City, Shreveport, Los Angles, San Diego, Canandaigua, Montgomery, Leavenworth, Cleveland, Boston, Baltimore, and Washington DC. Currently, Akron is non-operational.
The Center’s Model Implementation Framework (CMIF) development model was utilized to monitor and ensure fidelity of the initially funded sites, and to guide recommendations for site expansion and improvements. Sites funded in FY 2012 were provided ongoing guidance; those funded in FY 2013 were provided technical assistance for operations and development.
In coordination with the Center’s university affiliate, University of South Florida (USF), continued training has been provided through biweekly calls with VA Safe Haven staff and quarterly calls with the Safe Haven community providers. Teleconferencing and individual consultation have also been provided as needed.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, Safe Haven model development projects served 817 Veterans, including both males and females. Among those Veterans who exited the program, more than 59% were characterized as positive or neutral exits. Thirty-nine percent (39%) left the Safe Haven to move into permanent housing and 32% experienced an increase in income during their time in the program. At discharge, 43% of Veterans were receiving or had a pending application for VA benefits and 35% for non-VA benefits. Service linkages with VA and non-VA providers were established for the majority of Veterans following discharge: 33% for alcohol treatment, 31% for drug treatment, 66% for mental health treatment, and 79% for medical treatment.
In FY 2015, Safe Haven model development projects served 1,194 Veterans, including both males and females. Among those Veterans who exited the program, more than 70% were characterized as positive or neutral exits. Thirty-six percent (36%) left the Safe Haven to move into permanent housing and six percent (6%) experienced an increase in income during their time in the program. At discharge, 53% of Veterans were receiving or had a pending application for VA benefits and 50% for non-VA benefits. Service linkages with VA and non-VA providers were established for the majority of Veterans following discharge: 61% for alcohol treatment, 62% for drug treatment, 82% for mental health treatment, and 91% for medical treatment.
Model Development Summary
In FY 2016, programs were successfully transitioned to Homeless Programs Office (HPO) Operations. Programs are meeting local gaps in access and availability by providing services for Veterans who are chronically homeless and with substance use disorders and/or mental health diagnoses.
Technical Assistance / Contacts:
For more information on Safe Havens, go to the Safe Havens page of the Resource Center.