What is Operation Welcome Home?
Operation Welcome Home (OWH) is a collaboration and campaign to address Veterans experiencing homelessness in Oregon. OWH runs from November 2018 to July 2019. This initiative is the first step in bringing Central Oregon communities together to work to end Veteran homelessness. Operation Welcome Home centers this goal and uses national best practices and clear goalposts to advance our region forward towards Zero Homeless Veterans.
A partnership of community agencies have joined forces to create effective, long-term strategies that will get more homeless Veterans and their families into safe housing. Our OWH goal is to house 50% of homeless Veterans in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson Counties by February 2020. Short-run goals for the 7-months of the project are to increase community engagement in serving homeless Veterans, look at realistic options for increasing transitional housing and create a dynamic by-name list of who is experiencing homelessness.
Reaching Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
The new Central Oregon Homeless Veteran Registry is a confidential by-name list of homeless Veterans in Jefferson, Crook and Deschutes counties. The Registry gives all Central Oregon partners who are working to end Veteran homelessness a solid understanding of the people—not just the numbers—that are without housing in real time. The Registry is not a waiting list. Veterans on this list may already be accessing programs, waiting for a housing unit, or may self-resolve their homelessness, yet are still in need of services beyond housing. Being identified on the list means these Veterans will have quicker access to support services.
The Registry is informed by all significant partners in the OWH effort to serve Veterans experiencing homelessness, including Central Oregon Veterans Outreach (COVO), NeighborImpact, county health/mental health providers, county VSOs, Veteran service organizations, The Homeless Leadership Coalition, the Bend VA Medical Center and Vet Center, VA homeless programs, providers, shelters, outreach workers, faith based organizations, food programs, medical providers, law enforcement and others
Why We Need A Veteran By-Name List in Central Oregon
Homelessness continues to be a staggering issue in Central Oregon. Central Oregon Veterans Outreach (COVO) data gives just one snapshot view of the extent of homelessness. COVO saw a significant increase in the number of people served in 2018 as compared to 2017. There is a concerted effort among many service providers to decrease homelessness, yet the numbers continue to rise.
Many communities begin with ending Veteran homelessness due to the amount of resources dedicated to Veterans as well as the fact this is one of the easiest populations to garner wide community buy-in. The number of homeless Veterans in most systems is the smallest among all the sub-populations so it makes it easier for the community and system to develop strategies to tackle and sustain ending homelessness.
Once a community has been able to end Veteran homelessness, and support any new Veterans that might enter into homelessness, it is easy for the community to scale their system up, as well as make the adjustments to it, for the other populations. Communities then implement a By-Name List representing all homeless categories such as chronic homeless individuals, youth, and more. Through the list a community knows each person experiencing homelessness and are able to assess and prioritize by vulnerability and length-of-time homeless to ensure the individuals with the most urgent need are the first to receive services.
Why is a By Name List or Registry of Value?
- Understand exactly who is experiencing homelessness and what their individual needs and barriers are to housing placement
- Works in real time, as a prioritized list that continually integrates with all regular case coordination processes
- Encompass client lists between all community partners to ensure positive outcomes for all people experiencing homelessness, but shares only what data is needed
- Valuable measurement tool towards system goals and tracks exits (hopefully to shelter), as well as new entries to homelessness
- Serves as a means to deepen understanding of our local level of homelessness
- Will be a first step at building capacity in our communities’ planning efforts for reducing and ending homelessness
How It Works
The Registry is currently managed via spreadsheet, but will be populated in the regional Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) database when possible. COVO is the “holder” of the list and is responsible for adding information provided by other partners and bringing the list to case conferencing meetings. To enter Veterans on the list, visit the Central Oregon Homeless Veteran Registry form. The information entered into this online form is securely transmitted to the COVO Homeless Outreach program. Registration forms can also be faxed to COVO or completed in person at COVO. Veterans who have had a Coordinated Entry System (CES) assessment at any location will be also added to the Veteran Registry via HMIS. Veterans can choose to be listed anonymously, with only their needs and contact information included. This list is updated daily by COVO and reviewed at regular Veteran-focused coordination/case conferencing meetings to determine what needs to be done and what barriers needs to be removed to get them into housing.
Are you, or do you know a Veteran who can use our services? Use the form above to share contact information and we’ll be in touch.