Homeless Veterans

Homeless Veterans


Partnering with Local Communities Nationwide to Serve Homeless Veterans

The CHALENG Process

In 1994, the VA launched Project CHALENG (Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups) for Veterans, an innovative program designed to enhance the continuum of care for homeless Veterans provided by the local VA and its surrounding community service agencies. The guiding principle behind Project CHALENG is that no single agency can provide the full spectrum of services required to help homeless Veterans become productive members of society. Project CHALENG enhances coordinated services by bringing the VA together with community agencies and other federal, state, and local governments who provide services to the homeless to raise awareness of homeless Veterans' needs and to plan to meet those needs.

The legislation guiding this initiative is contained in Public Laws 102-405, 103-446 and 105-114. The specific legislative requirements relating to Project CHALENG are that local medical center and regional office directors:

  • Assess the needs of homeless Veterans living in the area
  • Make the assessment in coordination with representatives from state and local governments, appropriate federal departments and agencies and non-governmental community organizations that serve the homeless population
  • Identify the needs of homeless Veterans with a focus on health care, education and training, employment, shelter, counseling, and outreach
  • Assess the extent to which homeless Veterans' needs are being met
  • Develop a list of all homeless services in the local area
  • Encourage the development of coordinated services
  • Take action to meet the needs of homeless Veterans
  • Inform homeless Veterans of non-VA resources that are available in the community to meet their needs

Four years ago, CHALENG introduced a Veteran-specific survey, for homeless and formally homeless Veterans to complete. This addition empowered Veterans to become active participants in the design and delivery of homeless services. Project CHALENG represents the only national effort to catalog the needs of homeless Veterans by using Veterans input.

VA medical centers and regional offices designate CHALENG Points of Contact (POCs) who are responsible for overseeing the annual CHALENG Process. These CHALENG POCs - usually local VA homeless center/project coordinators - work with local agencies throughout the year to coordinate services for homeless Veterans.

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The Annual Project CHALENG Report

Each year Project CHALENG publishes a report summarizing the results of annual surveys of both local Veterans, VA staff and community participants (local government, service providers, formerly and currently homeless Veterans). These surveys ask for current perceptions of homeless Veterans' needs, the degree of VA/community cooperation and collaboration in serving homeless Veterans, and progress on local homeless Veterans program initiatives. The most recent CHALENG report for FY 2011 (The Eighteenth Annual Progress Report on Public Law 105-114: Services for Homeless Veterans Assessment and Coordination) is available below. The Report includes both VISN (Veterans Integrated Service Network) and Facility data.

When the Grant and Per Diem application and/or HUD Continuum of Care/Plan to End Homelessness processes are active, applicants needing to address local needs of homeless Veterans may want to consult their local CHALENG POC and include local data generated from the individual site profiles VA's Northeast Program Evaluation Center (NEPEC) processes and reports the data from the annual CHALENG survey.

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For More Information on CHALENG

For more information, please contact Jessica Blue-Howells, National CHALENG Coordinator at Jessica.Blue-Howells@va.gov. You may also contact John Nakashima, CHALENG program analyst, at John.Nakashima@va.gov.


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The 2011 CHALENG report:

CHALENG Report FY 2011

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For more information, please contact Jessica Blue-Howells, National CHALENG Coordinator at Jessica.Blue-Howells@va.gov. You may also contact John Nakashima, CHALENG program analyst, at John.Nakashima@va.gov.

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