A big part of NVTAC’s mission is to provide technical assistance and resources to Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) grantees. This section of the website is designed to help grantees in their mission of employing veterans who are experiencing homelessness by providing helpful tools and information. As always, please reach out to us with suggestions or requests for additional topics or tools that you would find useful, and NVTAC will strive to provide them.
On these pages you’ll find topic briefs, forms, on-the-job training strategies and FAQs, information about job-driven training, an operations manual, discussions about topics such as incarcerated veterans and special populations, success stories, and more. These materials are designed for both new programs and long-standing programs. Some of the material can be customized to your agency’s unique needs, while other materials are intended to inform grantees about diverse subjects. These pages are updated as new research emerges and practices from the field evolve.
The Grantee Spotlight is a special feature on the NVTAC website. The primary purpose of the spotlight is to foster communication and get to know people working in the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) community, their work, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Each spotlight features a direct service staff member or senior HVRP leader and their role in their HVRP, who they are, how they came to work with veterans experiencing homelessness, and their views about what works well and the current and future state of HVRP services.
If you want to be featured in a spotlight or want to recommend one of your staff members, please let us know by emailing NVTAC@ahpnet.org.
The Grantee Spotlight Archive contains all of the previously featured Grantee Spotlights. Click here to view this archive.
Best Practices are interventions that are either proven through research or driven by the consensus of experts that such interventions are most likely to influence positive outcomes for homeless veteran employment.
The body of evidence related specifically to HVRP is very limited. NVTAC reviewed a body of literature about employment, employment of people with disabilities, veterans, homelessness, and veteran homelessness, and much of this is included in the NVTAC bibliography. NVTAC also convened experts from the field and arranged a series of focus groups. Through these we identified ten Best Practices that are most likely to lead to desired outcomes in HVRP. Each Best Practice includes two or more of the following:
Partnering with Employers for Job-Driven Training is designed to provide you with the needed information and tools to build a stronger, more effective program and accomplish the following:
A literature review on job-driven training and employer engagement revealed several practices to be evidence based and effective. These essential findings can help grantees and providers forge successful employer partnerships.
The following practical tools can help make it easier to partner with employers.
Job-driven training, defined as “training that is responsive to the needs of employers in order to effectively place ready-to-work Americans in jobs that are available now or train them in the skills needed for better jobs,” includes seven core principles.
Click on the links below to learn how to make your training programs more "job driven."
Seven Core Principles of Job-Driven Training
On-the-Job Training (OJT), one of the most historically successful placement and training approaches, is a job-driven training practice that involves teaching the skills, knowledge, and competencies that are needed to perform a specific job. Here is a document offering more information about OJT.
This list of resources offers materials that define and describe the key elements of job-driven training.
This tip sheet shows you how to serve both of your customers – veterans and local employers.
Recruiting and hiring veterans is an opportunity to build a more competitive company culture. This customizable brochure can be used to market veterans to companies:
What are other grantees doing that is working for them? These short videos from a popular series, developed by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, provide insights into ways several grantees are developing job-driven training and the employer partnerships.
Despite an economy in Puerto Rico that challenges even job seekers without disabilities or histories of homelessness, General Meat Trading LLC (GMT) is one organization that stands out for its leadership in hiring and supporting Puerto Rican veterans who are homeless.
In Rochester, NY, the Veterans Outreach Center, an HVRP grantee, established a successful, longstanding relationship with Monroe Motor Products, a local employer that considers hiring veterans to be part of its mission. Their partnership highlights best practices in putting veterans to work.
In the homeless assistance field, the term “outreach” usually refers specifically to street outreach offered to individuals experiencing homelessness who are not engaged in services through conventional activities.
In this Best Practice, we review relevant research evidence to inform outreach practices, outline tips for successful outreach, and offer resources and cool tools. You can learn from your peers by watching “At Your Service” video clips, in which HVRP staff members talk about their best approaches to outreach. Of course, we welcome your comments and suggestions for best practices in reaching out to veterans who are homeless, employers, and stakeholders.
A literature review on outreach for veterans revealed several practices to be evidence based and effective.
The following tools can help you get to know your audience, efficiently deliver an appropriate message, and connect with your community.
Effective outreach for veterans who are experiencing homelessness is a multi-step process that involves a range of activities. The following resources will help you get to know your audience, efficiently deliver an appropriate message, and connect with your community.
This tip sheet provides suggestions for how to engage and reach a target audience, regardless of its composition.
What are other grantees doing that is working for them? Three short videos in this popular series, developed by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, provide insights into ways that several grantees are developing job-driven training and the employer partnerships to make it work.
Employment assessment or vocational assessment is ideally a holistic, client-based, ongoing process designed to incorporate information from multiple sources and approaches. As such, programs need access to multiple tools and models for employment assessment, and information about the strengths of these tools and their performance in practice settings.
Setting and achieving goals is fundamental to vocational practice. Goal setting is important because the hope of its achievement motivates the job seeker to participate in the vocational assessment process and anchors the direction of and commitment to needed behavior changes. Once a goal is established, the job seeker and the employment specialist consider what strengths the job seeker possesses that would be used to perform that occupational goal and what challenges need to be overcome or addressed, perhaps through job skill training.
A literature review on employment assessments for veterans revealed several practices to be evidence based and effective.
The following resources provide information specific to employment assessment for HVRP clients experiencing homelessness.
This tip sheet provides suggestions for making the employment assessment process a success.
Labor Market Information (LMI) describes current and projected data such as the number and types of available jobs, their characteristics, and the characteristics of the labor supply. HVRPs are expected to deliver job-driven training based on labor market information (LMI) and, as part of the grant application, provide detailed local LMI and current trends within their geographic service area. On Feb. 26, 2015, NVTAC held a webinar on using LMI as part of your HVRP program. This webinar webinar highlighted two sources for LMI that can inform employer development activities and had two HVRP Directors talk about their views on using LMI data and the experiences in their programs.TEXT
There are many misconceptions around what benefits veterans are entitled to, eligible for, and how they will affect their eligibility for employment, disability, and other benefits. As an employment program, HVRPs needs to ensure that veterans who are seeking employment and/or employed do not miss out on the benefits to which they are entitled. HVRPs should:
One of the primary benefits, and something that is required as part of grantee tracking, is referral to a VA medical center for medical benefits. This is a straightforward process and should be done very early in the assessment/case management process. Case managers can simply ask the question “Are you registered at the VA, and do you have a VA card?” to assess whether the veteran has completed this process. It is essential that every veteran sign up for VA services, as they can provide a wealth of services and may also allow access to other VA homeless programs, employment programs, and other services beyond strictly health care. This best practice will look at income-generating benefits and how they affect employment eligibility, as well as other benefits.
Benefits counseling is an important ingredient of employment supports for people who receive—or might be eligible to receive—public benefits. This literature review revealed that when benefits counseling is included with other employment supports, hours worked, earned income, and overall income are all likely to increase.
There are many resources and organizations that can help HVRP staff when counseling veterans about benefits.
This tip sheet offers advice around effective benefits counseling, public benefits programs, and their associated work incentives.
The National Veterans Technical Assistance Center (NVTAC) hosted the webinar “Using SOAR to Access Social Security Disability Benefits” on Thursday, April 21 at 2:00 pm. This presentation described best practices for utilizing SOAR with Veterans who access HVRP services, with special emphasis on employment and housing stability.
Although HVRP is an employment program, ending homelessness among veterans requires that every veteran have a home, preferably a permanent place to call home. The employment services HVRP provides help veterans afford housing and contribute to their stability in permanent housing. Because housing is so important, HVRP staff must concern themselves with access to housing, as well as partnering with housing staff either internally in an HVRPs’ own organization or externally with housing agencies in their community.
HVRP services are intended for veterans who are literally homeless, at risk for homelessness, or in time-limited housing or shelters. Although today we do see the advantage of helping housed veterans secure employment, HVRP was not meant for veterans in permanent housing. HVRPs must work closely with housing staff to enroll veterans in HVRP before the veteran has a permanent housing lease in hand. Some HVRPs now work closely with HUD-VASH to screen veterans who are approved for VASH but who have not yet executed a lease.
Whatever the housing circumstances are of the HVRP veteran, the program must work closely to integrate housing and employment services to that veteran, as if these were seamless. Integration may be observed through case conferencing, shared service plans, and regular communication between housing case managers and employment specialists. In this Best Practice, we review the literature on housing, identify resources that may be useful to you, and offer tips for success and cool tools that may help you in your work finding housing for veterans.
A literature review on Permanent Supportive Housing and Housing First revealed several practices to be evidence based and effective.
The following tools provide strategies and action plans for connecting to landlords, building managers, public housing agencies, representatives from federal offices, and others working to promote the stability necessary for sustained employment.
The following resources can be used to establish partnerships that will support transitional and permanent housing.
This tip sheet provides suggestions for establishing partnerships with transitional and permanent housing.
On Jan. 29, 2015, NVTAC held a webinar to discuss the spectrum of housing services, including those through VA and HUD. Presenters provided a detailed look at the major programs, and an overview of the key eligibility overlaps likely to impact veterans in your community.
For an HVRP to attain its highest potential and effectively help the most veterans, it is vital that it hires and retains excellent, highly qualified staff. Whether your team comprises two or 10 staff members, their competency is critical to implementing services for homeless veterans.
In this Best Practice, we consider which personal and professional skills are both desirable and essential characteristics of outstanding staff members. We also explore how HVRP leaders can attract, hire, and keep qualified, excellent staff members, particularly when other businesses and organizations in your area can often offer higher pay and better benefits. We discuss targeted ways to attract and retain dedicated, caring, and competent employees, even in a competitive job market.
HVRP outcomes and success rely, in part, on the talent of our own workforce and ability to train, support, and retain the staff we hire. For this reason, this Best Practice focuses solely on ways to find and keep the type of staff members who will do the best job, while also relating well to the veterans being served.
A literature review on recruiting and retaining excellent staff revealed several practices to be evidence based.
The following tools can help you welcome new HVRP staff members and train them on critical skills and knowledge that facilitate their ability to help veterans succeed.
We have compiled information about effective staff of homeless services, the critical skills and knowledge that make them effective, and ways to retain workers who help veterans succeed.
This tip sheet is designed to help HVRP grantees recruit and retain excellent staff who can effectively assist veterans experiencing homelessness obtain meaningful jobs within the labor force and connect them to supportive services in the community.
The terms measuring outcomes, results, and outcome orientation, refer to an organization’s ability to know what results are important and focus its resources to achieve them. Although HVRP outcome evaluations are not required, conducting program assessments about outcomes can lead to improvements in program design, effectiveness, and operations. Setting program goals, gathering performance data, and regularly analyzing results are valuable activities for managers who are seeking to strengthen the quality and productivity of their programs.
For this Best Practice, you will find a literature search about what evaluation strategies work, along with resources that might be helpful to HVRPs considering measuring program outcomes.
A literature review on measuring outcomes and being outcomes oriented revealed several practices to be evidence based.
The Volunteers of America (VOA) commissioned an outcome evaluation of the HVRPs operated by their affiliates across the country. This is a good example of VOA’s outcome orientation.
These resources are intended to help a broad range of programs prepare for, plan, and implement outcomes measurement and performance management activities.
Agencies can complement HVRP services by developing strategies and accessing funding streams to strengthen their mission to help veterans. “Braiding” funding means having access to and coordinating multiple sources of funding to provide services and supports needed by veterans experiencing homelessness to obtain and retain jobs. It allows HVRPs to make use of more than one funding stream to serve a single veteran.
To meet the employment needs of veterans experiencing homelessness, many HVRPs sought funding to also provide housing assistance to these veterans. U. S. Department of Labor grantees have found the Grant and Per Diem, Supportive Services for Veteran Families, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development permanent supportive housing dollars can be braided with HVRP to offer veterans more comprehensive assistance for existing homelessness. Many current and past HVRPs developed social purpose business ventures to both raise revenue for serving veterans and to develop in-house employment opportunities for their veterans. Other funding streams and strategies, such as the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program, are as yet unrealized sources that have not been braided with HVRP.
Braiding funding can expand the partnerships an agency has developed and can also contribute to the effectiveness of the program. For example, in general, HVRP funds are not meant to pay for rental assistance. But by braiding housing resources, an HVRP grantee can address veteran housing needs. Securing additional funds can also enhance job retention in an HVRP by using other funds to offer incentives to veterans for achieving job retention goals.
The following resources can be used to seek other funding to braid with government-funded program and help enhance services for veterans experiencing homelessness.
This tip sheet is designed to help HVRP grantees broaden and enrich the employment services they provide to veterans experiencing homelessness.
In Best Practice 10, we review relevant research evidence to inform population-tailored practices, outline tips for successful service deliver, and offer resources and cool tools for specific target populations, including younger veterans, justice-involved veterans, women veterans, and more.
You can learn from your peers by watching “At Your Service” video clips, in which HVRP staff members talk about their best approaches to serving veteran groups. Of course, we welcome your comments and suggestions for best practices in serving particular sub-populations of veterans who are homeless.
Literature reviews were conducted about each subtopic of the Best Practice. The results are found below.
The tools below are geared specifically to the subpopulation of veterans being served.
The resources below are geared specifically to the subpopulation of veterans being served.
The Tips for Success below are geared specifically to the subpopulation of veterans being served.
What are other grantees doing that is working for them? These short videos from a popular series, developed by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, provide insights into ways several grantees are supporting target populations of veterans.
Making Services Work Better: The Connection between the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program and the Local Continuum of Care
In this document, we look at the level of integration and coordination between two specific programs: 1) Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP)—a Department of Labor (DOL) employment program that provides employment and supportive services to Veterans who are homeless, and 2) Continuums of Care (CoCs)—local bodies funded and tasked by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to oversee coordination of homeless services in local communities. The purpose of this brief is to serve as a resource that HVRPs and CoCs can use to partner and share what works in helping veterans who are homeless obtain housing, supportive services, and jobs. CoCs play an increasingly important role in their communities as planners and managers of local systems of care for homeless individuals and families as well as those at-risk of homelessness. HVRPs are an important resource to address veteran homelessness and an important program in the CoC. This document describes strategies that foster collaboration between HVRPs and CoCs, offers examples of effective practices, and makes recommendations for how to integrate the needs of homeless veterans into a community’s strategy to end homelessness.
Click on the link to read the full brief HVRP and Continuums of Care.
The Compendium of Approaches for HVRP is a customizable operations manual designed to provide assistance and orientation to new HVRP grantees and new employees hired to work for existing HVRP grantees, including program managers, case managers, job developers, outreach specialists, and other positions that will work with HVRP veterans. This Compendium may be useful to HVRPs seeking to create an operations manual for their program. The material in these approaches is based on best practices and promising practices from the field and from the available research literature.
Click on the link to read the Compendium of Approaches for HVRP. Click here for a list of customizable forms associated with the Compendium.
A Coordinated Assessment (also called Coordinated Entry or Coordinated Intake) System is a point of entry to receive homeless assistance services in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-funded continuums of care (CoCs). It is a process by which homeless and at-
risk individuals (including veterans who are homeless) are evaluated for service needs at any entry point into the system with a
universal assessment tool. This eliminates the need for duplicative assessments by participating providers and facilitates referral to services for which the individual is qualified. Although there is no standard tool, the VI-SPDAT is a new and widely used assessment tool.
Coordinated Assessment is required under the HEARTH amendments. Its chief aim is to provide a cohesive system that gives veterans who are homeless access to greater selections of services with less service fragmentation, greater ease of access, and, in general, less hassle.
Sources and Additional Reading
Atlas Research (2014). 25 cities. Retrieved from http://www.25cities.com/
National Alliance to End Homelessness (2013). National Alliance to End Homelessness: Coordinated Assessment Toolkit: Planning. Retrieved from http://www.endhomelessness.org
Building Changes. (2014). Coordinated Entry Toolkit - Building Changes. Retrieved from http://www.buildingchanges.org
How Continuums of Care (CoCs) are Using Coordinated Assessment
HUD has mandated that all CoCs use the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to collect data and implement a coordinated assessment process. CoCs use HMIS to track data and select an assessment tool, such as the VI-SPDAT, to provide clients with targeted services.
Shared Data: An Essential Element of Coordinated Assessment
HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are now attempting to share data through the HMIS and other systems. This partnership allows VA programs and HUD programs to communicate at the client level, while allowing planners at the community level to forecast service needs for the greater system.
Integrating and sharing data helps to:
A full explanation of what Coordinated Assessments are and how they are used is available in Improving Access to Services for Veterans.