U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

In 2009, President Obama and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki announced the federal government’s goal to end Veteran homelessness by 2015. In order to identify Veterans who need housing assistance and assess and meet their needs in the most appropriate and time-efficient manner, the VA is seeking to make strategic IT improvements in its needs assessment and referral processes and data collection systems. Mobile applications, at-risk screening tools, and data-sharing with community service providers represent some of the efforts that will contribute to greater outreach to Veterans who are at risk of losing their housing and a more comprehensive systems response to ensure that all homeless Veterans have access to safe, permanent housing.

Why This Matters To You

Veterans have long been over-represented among the ranks of the homeless. While they constitute less than 10 percent of the overall U.S. population, Veterans make up as much as 23 percent of the overall population of homeless persons on a given day. In addition to increased risk of homelessness, Veterans are also more likely to suffer from a variety of medical and mental health issues that can make their successful reintegration into society more difficult.

The Obama administration has announced its goal of eliminating homelessness among Veterans by 2015. The VA, in close partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),
and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), plays a leading role in this effort and has been at the forefront of developing more effective ways of finding, treating, and housing homeless Veterans. Because of the need for close coordination between the VA, HUD, the USICH, state and local governments, and a broad array of community-based partner organizations, the effective use and efficient management of technology are critical to success.

How We Helped

Phase One provides a range of IT implementation, program management support, and strategic transformation services across VA’s Major Initiative 1: Eliminating Veteran Homelessness (EVH). Primary areas of focus include full system development life cycle (SDLC) support for all homelessness IT development projects, ongoing operational support for homelessness data collection systems and national reports. We also designed a new, innovative mobile case management and decision support tool to increase outreach to homeless Veterans, eliminate paper-based and manual processes, and standardize program referrals to optimize VA’s use of homeless program resources.

Phase One has also been at the forefront of efforts to establish a shared architecture between VA, HUD, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). Leveraging the Federal Segment Architecture Methodology (FSAM), Phase One facilitated the estab- lishment of an interagency governance team composed of leaders across the three organizations. Next steps will focus on collaborative identification of transformational IT projects to speed up progress toward the 2015 goal. In true demonstration of the company’s com- mitment to the mission that drives our work, Phase One team mem- bers also participated in the annual Point In Time (PIT) Count, where volunteers across the nation take to the streets to talk with homeless individuals, Veterans, and families to determine levels of need.