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ND Planning Committee to End Veteran Homelessness meets

A planning committee to end veteran homelessness held its first meeting on May 21.

Led by N.D. Veterans Commissioner Lonnie Wangen, the North Dakota Planning Committee to End Veteran Homelessness met in a Zoom meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting covered N.D. Veteran Homelessness statistics, coordinated entry process, continuum of care and the definition and benchmarks to reach “Functional Zero” as defined by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, the group charged with developing and regularly updating a national strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.

N.D. Veteran Homeless Statistics show that on an average day 49 N.D. veterans are experiencing homelessness. “Functional Zero” does not mean there are no homeless veterans in N.D. There will always be veterans who experience a housing crisis or become homeless. But, as long as there is a good crisis response system (coordinated entry) in place that can rapidly identify those in need and re-house them quickly, the homeless rate will “functionally” be at zero.

A coordinated entry process is comprised of access to the homeless response system; a uniform assessment tool to identify appropriate housing and services; and assignment/prioritization based on each individuals case. A continuum of care is a group composed of representatives of relevant organizations that work together to plan, organize and provide the streamlined crisis response system.

The committee’s mutual goal is to achieve and sustain a well-coordinated, and efficient community system that ensures veteran homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring and that no veteran is forced to live on the street.

The committee is comprised of 21 members representing 12 organizations.

The group’s goal is to reach “Functional Zero” in the next year. To do this the committee will put the plan into action and establish a coalition of over 100 members which will be charged with reaching the goal and maintaining “Functional Zero” veteran homelessness in North Dakota.

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