House veterans experiencing homelessness

Why is this important to Colorado?

  • As housing markets tighten, rent-burdened veterans and their families become increasingly vulnerable to homelessness.
    • In Colorado the average apartment vacancy rate is 5% with the average rent costing $1,420.  In the last four years alone, the average rent has increased over $400 per month making affordable housing units scarce. 
    • Veterans struggling to make a successful transition to civilian life who lack adequate support networks and face substance use or mental health challenges due to service-related trauma are especially at risk.
    • The total number of homeless veterans in Colorado dropped by 7.8% between 2016-2017.  However, the homeless count conducted in January 2017 indicates that 1,088 veterans remain homeless in Colorado. 
    • Our Veterans have put their lives on the line to keep us safe; we have a sacred responsibility to ensure that should any of these brave men and women experience homelessness in Colorado, they are rapidly connected with the appropriate housing resource.

How do we measure success?

The median number of days between the date when an individual Veteran or Veteran family is issued a housing voucher or housing assistance and the date they move into stable housing. The State of Colorado aims to accelerate this timeline from 46 days in FY 16 to 30 days by FY 18.

Status Outcome Measure Outcome Baseline (June 2015) Actual (June 2016) Actual (June 2017) Outcome Target Target Date
Needs Improvement
Days to place veterans experiencing homelessness in housing 35 46 40* 30 2018

Source: Department of Local Affairs, Veterans Affairs

*currently monthly days to place is 34 days

What actions are we taking?

  • The Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing (DOH) is housing vulnerable Veterans through a number of housing resources including the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, the Grant Per Diem (GPD) program, the Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community in Bent County, and the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) prevention and rapid re-housing program.

  • In order to accelerate the utilization of these resources and strengthening the broader continuum of housing interventions available to Veterans and their families, the State of Colorado is working to support the creation of Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement systems (CAHPs) statewide. Current jurisdictions participating in the CAHPs system include: Denver Metro 7 county area, Pikes Peak region and some areas in the rest of the state.  Once fully implemented across the state, we will know every Veteran experiencing homelessness by name, assess their acuity, and can match them with the intervention that affords the greatest potential for success.
  • Since January of 2016, 1,087  Colorado Veterans and their families have been housed through the combined efforts of the Colorado Division of Housing, federal agency partners, and local housing authorities and services providers. Together, these efforts will ensure that those experiencing homelessness do not languish on multiple waiting lists, navigate a confusing maze of bureaucracy, or only get help on “first come, first served” basis.
  • The Department has funded the creation of 45 units of permanent supportive housing for veterans since 2015.  This type of housing pairs rental assistance with supportive services to provide veterans with the level of support necessary to remain successfully housed.