The National Center on Homelessness among Veterans of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has released the Housing Navigator Toolkit in order to provide support for communities interested in integrating Navigator programs into their efforts to end homelessness among Veterans:
This Toolkit is designed to provide Navigators, program managers, administrators, staff, and other key stakeholders working to end Veteran homelessness with a number of resources, tools, and ideas which can be used to help develop or refine local Navigator programming. The information contained in this Toolkit is intended to assist with the integration of Navigator programs into existing systems of care. This Toolkit can also be used to provide context for other provider staff (e.g., case managers, peer support specialists, healthcare providers, local government agencies), who will likely collaborate with Navigators to help homeless Veterans overcome barriers to housing and engage in needed treatment services. Moreover, this Toolkit will become a “living” document that will be enhanced regularly to provide additional education and training for both VA and non-VA partners through the VA National Center on Homelessness among Veterans. (Housing Navigator Toolkit, 46)
The Housing Navigator Toolkit includes a section exploring efforts to end homelessness among Veterans in Massachusetts. MHSA’s Veterans Homeless In-Reach Peer Project is referenced as an example of how the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is incorporating peer-based support into efforts to end Veteran homelessness:
The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA) is a non-profit public policy advocacy organization with the singular mission of ending homelessness in the Commonwealth. Supported by a grant from the Highland Street Foundation, MHSA has partnered with the MA DVS on a pilot program designed to better meet the needs of homeless Veterans. The Veterans Homeless In-Reach Peer Project is an expansion of the SHARP model in which Veterans serve other Veterans. By bringing Peer Navigator models into shelters and community-based organizations that do not exclusively serve Veterans; the Veterans Homeless In-Reach Peer Project reaches a population who may not have access to specialized supports for PTSD, undesirable service discharges, and other significant barriers that Veterans face. (Housing Navigator Toolkit, 46).