Arizona Veterans StandDown Alliance
'Stand Down' is a military term that refers to the brief period of time given to a soldier to leave an active combat area in order to rest and regain strength before returning to battle.
The Arizona StandDown is an alliance of community-based organizations that come together to provide annual, one to three day events that bring together the State's homeless and at-risk military veterans, connecting them with services ranging from: VA health care, mental health services, clothing, meals, emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, ID/drivers licenses, municipal court services and legal aide, showers and haircuts, and a myriad of other services and resources.
Arizona StandDowns are held at various locations throughout the State with the largest, serving approximately 1,500 veterans, at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Maricopa County.
The Arizona StandDown’s goal is to increase the community’s awareness of the plight of the homeless American veteran, while bringing a variety of social service providers together to meet with, inform and assist veterans in reintegrating back into our communities through housing and support services. Ultimately, it is our hope that such events can bring forth the awareness and political/community will necessary to assert the on-going resources it will take to end veteran homelessness once and for all.
The 2016 Maricopa County StandDown, Arizona's largest StandDown, will be held at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds January 28th through 30th, 2016.
Project H3: Home, Health Hope
Project H3: Home, Health Hope is a collaborative effort of community leaders from the non-profit, governmental, and business communities in the greater Phoenix area striving to end homelessness in our communities. Project H3 is the Maricopa County initiative of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, an effort to bring together change agents from across the country to find and house 100,000 of the country’s most vulnerable and long-term homeless individuals and families by July 2013. Project H3 is led by the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness and supported by over 30 agencies, organizations, and entities.
In April 2010, over 160 community volunteers canvassed targeted geographic areas for three consecutive days from 4 AM to 6 AM to meet and survey persons experiencing street homelessness. Volunteers administered the Common Ground Vulnerability Index ™ to over 260 individuals during those three days, learning about their length of time without housing and about their health conditions making them vulnerable to premature death on the streets.
The project’s goal was to provide permanent affordable housing and client-centered, wrap around supportive services to 50 of the most medically vulnerable individuals and families encountered during the survey week.
As of November 1, 2011, 46 of these individuals have secured permanent supportive housing. Efforts continue towards solutions for the remaining 4 individuals to achieve our goal of 50. The project has been tremendously successful and has garnered considerable attention both locally and nationally. We are proud to be among the 100-plus communities participating in this campaign to forever change the way that we address homelessness in our communities.
Project H3: VETS
On any given night, there are as many as 1,258 veterans experiencing homelessness living on the streets, in emergency shelters, or transitional housing programs in Arizona. Consider the fact that over fifty percent of the homeless veteran population lives in Maricopa County, and clearly, you see a growing problem walking the Valley streets. But there is a solution. Project H3: VETS hopes to work towards that solution.
Project H3: VETS is a community collaboration coordinated by the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness and working in conjunction with our many different partners. The initiative is aligned nationally with the 100,000 Homes Campaign and the VA National Homeless Veterans Outreach Campaign and on target to end chronic homelessness among veterans by February 2014.
Project H3: VETS launched during Veterans' Day week in November 2011. Approximately 175 community volunteers and stakeholders combed valley streets and shelters and began the process of identifying and using the Vulnerability Index to survey 1,100-1,200 homeless veterans by the close of the Arizona StandDown on February 5, 2012.
Data collected during Survey Week and thereafter is being used to target the most chronically homeless veterans who are at greatest risk of premature death on the streets with permanent housing and support services through the HUD-VASH program. The other veterans will be targeted with additional resources that best meet their needs. The vouchers are only a first step to a successful transition out of homelessness.
Before Project H3 VETS, the process to house a chronically homeless veteran in the HUD-VASH program was an average of 126 days. Project H3 VETS works with community partners, navigation teams, and Local, State, and Federal agencies, utilizing the process/practices learned during Project H3 to house chronically homeless veterans in a quarter of the time.
Ending Chronic Veteran Homelessness
On Veterans Day 2013, Mayor Greg Stanton, Senator John McCain and leaders of our partner organizations announced a plan to get these 56 veterans in doors and off the streets by the end of November 2013 and to be permanently housed by the next Arizona StandDown, February 14th 2014, bringing this population to a functional zero.
Since the launch of Project H3: VETS in 2011 over 164 veterans experiencing chronic homelessness have been housed, with a 93% success rate for remaining housed. The most recent street survey completed in October 2013, identified the remaining 56 chronically homeless veterans on the streets of Greater Phoenix., revealing a 62% decrease in this population since the project's initiation.
51homes is the Tucson / Pima County initiative of the 100,000 Homes Campaign. 51homes is a work group of the Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness and is led by community leaders from non-profit, government, businesses, faith communities, medical professionals, local military, community advocates and countless others.
Tucson enrolled in the 100,000 Homes Campaign shortly after survey week for Project H3, and announced that they would "one up" Maricopa County and provide permanent supportive housing to 51 of the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness in their community - 51homes was born!
Several of the Tucson team leaders visited Albuquerque, New Mexico to take part in the first 100,000 Homes Registry Week Boot Camp. In April 2011, over 100 volunteers spent three consecutive mornings visiting with their neighbors sleeping outside and administering the Vulnerability Index. See the full results: 51homes Registry Week Fact Sheet
AZCEH staff and board members provided technical assistance, political will and hands-on support through ongoing presentations, stakeholder and planning meetings and registry week assistance. The success of 51homes lies squarely with the leadership team and dedicated volunteers from Tucson and Pima County. Its success, however, also points to the efforts of AZCEH in championing special initiatives that embrace and demonstrate best practices that can be replicated in communities across our state.
You can learn all about 51homes and follow their progress as they work to house and support their most vulnerable individuals and families experiencing homelessness by visiting their website at www.51homes.net.
If you are interested in learning more about these special initiatives or exploring opportunities to collaborate with AZCEH in your community, please contact us!