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Important Updates from One Roof’s PromisSE Team

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One Roof’s PromisSE Team, Andy Childers (left) and Nathan Salter (right)

Important Updates from One Roof’s PromisSE Team

Nathan Salter, One Roof’s PromisSE Coordinator, has written the following blog post to update HMIS users and our members on some upcoming changes and important information.

NOFA Update (More than $8 million Annual Grant through HUD) 

As we enter the busy fall season, the PromisSE team enters into the exciting time that surrounds the end of the Federal Fiscal Year on September 30th. The beginning of the new Federal Fiscal Year on October 1st marks the beginning of AHAR season and oftentimes the announcement of NOFA (Notice of Funding Availability) for agencies with Continuum of Care grants.

The AHAR, or Annual Homeless Assessment Report, provides the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with a standardized set of data to present to Congress explaining the state of homelessness in the United States.  Each year the PromisSE team, in partnership with agencies who provide housing, completes the AHAR locally.  Then the University of Pennsylvania combines all the local reports with the annual PIT (Point-in-Time count) data to form a single, uniform report for Congress.  Our housing partners will have a reduced timeline this year to complete data cleanup with the initial AHAR reports, which are due by November 14th (a final version is due by December 12th).

In the spirit of short timelines, the Notice of Funding Availability, or NOFA, will also have a much tighter deadline.  The competitive application must be submitted by One Roof no later than October 30th, which means that there will be interim deadlines for projects.  Stay tuned for said timeline.

Training for 2014 HMIS Data Standards & PromisSE Policies and Procedures

We have received what should be the final details relating to the 2014 HMIS Data Standards that are effective October 1, 2014.  As promised, One Roof’s PromisSE team will be providing a mandatory training where we will go over the 2014 HMIS Data Standards in addition to the new PromisSE Policies and Procedures. Since not all Federal partners have released their program specific guidebooks the training will be a general overview of the universal requirements.

The Jefferson County Office of Community & Economic Development is graciously hosting our training at the 2121 Building.  The 2121 building is located at 2121 8th Avenue (Reverend Abraham Woods BLVD) North with parking located on lots and the street around the building. The training room is located on the 5th floor.

Please register online for the training and e-mail Nathan Salter directly if there are any questions or concerns (nathan@oneroofonline.org).

PromisSE Merger

On October 1st after everyone has completed training the PromisSE system will be upgraded so that users can begin operating in compliance with the 2014 HMIS Data Standards.

Finally, the PromisSE team is coming to the end of a nearly two year process of expanding into Florida. Over the years our organization has enjoyed being a frontrunner in a variety of ways. The transition from a statewide implementation as PromisAL to a multi-state implementation as PromisSE is a great next step.

As the lead HMIS agency for PromisAL, One Roof managed nearly 400 users in 108 agencies serving 61 counties in Alabama.  As the lead HMIS agency for PromisSE, One Roof will be working with nine continua of cares to manage roughly 500 users in nearly 200 agencies serving clients in Alabama and Florida.

The initial effects of the merger will be a new web address that denotes our regional coverage. Users will receive an email the evening before the changeover letting them know about the new web address and instructions for the an updated PKI certificate.  As time progresses, agencies will begin to notice clients and programs from the new Florida continua of cares.

As these exciting changes unfold, please remember that the PromisSE team is always just a call or email away to answer any questions that may arise.

Nathan Salter:  nathan@oneroofonline.org

Andy Childers:  andy@oneroofonline.org

33% Drop in Veteran Homelessness Since 2010

From the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ August 2014 newsletter: 

HUD, VA, and USICH Announce 33% Drop in Veteran Homelessness Since 2010

January 2014 PIT Count results show 49,933 homeless veterans

WASHINGTON – The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) today released a new national estimate of veteran homelessness in the United States. Data collected during the annual Point-in-Time Count conducted in January 2014 shows there were 49,933 homeless veterans in America, a decline of 33 percent (or 24,837 people) since 2010. This includes a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of veterans sleeping on the street.

HUD, VA, USICH, and local partners have used evidenced-based practices like Housing First and federal resources like HUD-VASH (the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program) to get veterans off the street and into stable housing as quickly as possible. Since 2008, the HUD-VASH program has served a total of 74,019 veterans.

“We have an obligation to ensure that every veteran has a place to call home,” said Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. “In just a few years, we have made incredible progress reducing homelessness among veterans, but we have more work to do. HUD will continue collaborating with our federal and local partners to ensure that all of the men and women who have served our country have a stable home and an opportunity to succeed.”

“The Department of Veterans Affairs and our federal and local partners should be proud of the gains made reducing veterans’ homelessness,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, “but so long as there remains a veteran living on our streets, we have more work to do.”

“As a nation, we have proven that homelessness is a problem we can solve,” said U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Laura Green Zeilinger. “Communities all across the country are meeting this costly tragedy with urgency and a focus on helping all veterans and their families achieve safe and stable housing.”

To accelerate progress on meeting the goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Administration’s “Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness” in spring 2014. So far, more than 210 mayors, county, and state officials have committed to ending homelessness among veterans in their communities.

The federal government has provided significant new resources to help communities pursue the goal of ending homelessness among veterans. Communities that target these resources strategically are making significant progress and can end veteran homelessness in their communities in 2015. These strategies include:

  • Using a Housing First approach, which removes barriers to help veterans obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible, without unnecessary prerequisites;
  • Prioritizing the most vulnerable veterans—especially those experiencing chronic homelessness—for permanent supportive housing opportunities, including those created through the HUD-VASH program;
  • Coordinating outreach efforts to identify and engage every veteran experiencing homelessness and focus outreach efforts on achieving housing outcomes;
  • Targeting rapid rehousing interventions, including those made possible through the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, toward veterans who need shorter-term rental subsidies and services in order to be reintegrated back into our communities;
  • Leveraging other housing and services resources that can help veterans who are ineligible for some of the VA’s programs get into stable housing;
  • Increasing early detection and access to preventive services so at‐risk veterans remain stably housed;
  • Closely monitoring progress toward the goal, including the success of programs achieving permanent housing outcomes; and
  • Aligning local goals and strategies with Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

To help your community accelerate progress in ending veteran homelessness, apply for Community Solutions’ Zero: 2016 campaign and get involved with the 25 Cities Initiative.

Domestic Violence and Homelessness in Birmingham

Domestic Violence Services

Warning: The following post summarizes instances of domestic violence and includes links to graphic descriptions of violence. Domestic violence is a reality that affects many in our community.

Recently several women in our community have been murdered by their current or former partners. In March, Angelica Jones was shot to death by her estranged boyfriend. In June, Rashon Deidrenette Bester Epps was fatally shot by her husband. In July, Deborah Diane Prater died two days after her ex-boyfriend doused her in gasoline and set her on fire. These horrific and heartbreaking instances of domestic violence are not uncommon in Alabama. According to the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there were 24 reported domestic violence homicides in Alabama in 2012. That same year, there were 2,722 reported domestic violence aggravated assaults and 32,995 reported domestic violence simple assaults. For these statistics and more, click here. For national statistics, click here.

A person who is experiencing domestic violence is often unable to leave because their abuser is not just physically abusive, but also emotionally manipulative and in control of many/all aspects of their life, including their finances. On average, it takes a domestic violence survivor seven times to successfully leave their abuser. When a domestic violence survivor is able to leave their abuser, they often lack the financial and emotional support to make it on their own. Unfortunately, this means that many people who leave a domestic violence situation then experience homelessness. According to this year’s Point-in-Time count, out of the 1,329 people experiencing homelessness in the Birmingham area on any given night, 209 are survivors of domestic violence. That means over 15% of people experiencing homelessness in our community are survivors of domestic violence. These community members and all who experience domestic violence deserve to feel safe and be in an environment where they can gain stability.

In central Alabama, we have shelters and transitional housing programs for women who’ve experienced / are experiencing domestic violence. In these programs, survivors of domestic violence can feel safe and gain stability. In our area, women who’ve experienced domestic violence can receive services at SafeHouse of Shelby County and the YWCA of Central Alabama. Please follow the links to learn more about these amazing agencies and the work they’re doing to keep survivors of domestic violence safe and end domestic violence in our community. People experiencing domestic violence can also contact the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s 24-hour crisis hotline for assistance: 1-800-650-6522. People experiencing domestic violence can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY for those who are hearing impaired: 1-800-787-3224.

At One Roof we believe that preventing and ending homelessness is a community effort. We also believe that ending domestic violence is a community effort. It is our responsibility as a community to educate ourselves about the services available to people experiencing domestic violence and to make those services known to anyone who might need them.

We will not forget the 209 survivors of domestic violence who experience homelessness on any given night in central Alabama. We will not forget Angelica, Rashon, and Deborah, and the other members of our community whose lives were taken by their abusers. No person deserves to be abused. No person deserves to die at the hands of their abuser. And no person should have to make the decision between staying with an abuser or becoming homeless.  There is help available if you are experiencing domestic violence and/or if you know someone who might be experiencing domestic violence. Please contact SafeHouse, the YWCA, and the ACADV if you or anyone you know is in need of help.

Josh Helms is an AmeriCorps alum who served at One Roof as the Capacity Building Assistant from 2013-2014. 

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