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HVRP Factsheet #4: Quality Indicators for Projects Serving Veterans with Significant Employment Barriers

by Michael West

Available formats:    PDF

One of the functions of the National HVRP Technical Assistance Center is to identify “what works” and disseminate these promising practices within the HVRP network. In 2007, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) profiled 34 HVRPs that were providing exemplary services to homeless veterans and identified common critical universal program components. This fact sheet presents12 indicators that were identified from the profiles as common program activities or approaches. This is intended as a draft document, and feedback is welcome.

The next phase of this activity will be to use the quality indicators to develop tools that will enable new or prospective HVRPs to assess and improve their services to homeless veterans.

1. The HVRP develops collaborative partnerships to meet clients’ diverse needs for services and supports that will help them to enter and sustain employment. Examples include housing assistance, food, clothing, transportation, legal assistance, education and training, job development assistance, and benefits assistance.

2. The HVRP leverages funding from other sources to fill service gaps to supplement DOL-VETS funds. Possible sources include the VA, HUD, United Way, private and corporate donations, and state and local service funding.

3. The HVRP engages in targeted community outreach and education through homeless shelters, transitional housing programs, jails, substance abuse clinics, etc. to recruit
eligible veterans. In addition, the program uses television and radio advertisements, billboards, and other media to influence public opinion regarding veterans’ issues.

4. The HVRP seeks active engagement of the business community through board representation or other advisory capacity, providing sites for situational assessments, job training, or interim or transitional jobs; and providing information or advisement to the program’s clients regarding job availability, interviewing skills, presentation, etc.

5. The HVRP uses a veteran-to-veteran service model that uses veterans and veteran service organizations (AMVETS, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, etc.) to
provide training, support, mentoring, and reinforcement to its clients.

6. The HVRP offers a comprehensive service menu that, to the extent possible, provides necessary services in a single location. 7. The HVRP develops individualized service plans with clients that are based on their work skills and interests. Interventions are individualized and respect the dignity of the veteran. The program solicits feedback from the client on satisfaction with their job and with the services they receive.

8. The HVRP focuses on job retention and follow-along support through regularly scheduled visits, phone calls, or emails with the employer and other key individuals, such as family members. Contacts are proactive, designed to identify problems at the worksite before they become job-threatening.

9. The HVRP has specialized staff responsibilities that permit staff to focus their time, to the extent possible, on a limited number of program areas, such as job development and placement or job retention.

10. The HVRP uses creative job training and development strategies such as trial work arrangements with employers, mobile worksites and training centers, and development of its own business for training purposes.

11. The HVRP incentivizes success for their clients by providing additional perks to clients as a means of encouragement. The program may offer bonuses or additional privileges based on length of job retention, or offer successful clients mentoring opportunities with newer clients.

12. The HVRP uses preventive measures to reduce recidivism of homelessness, substance abuse, and other problems.

Engaging the Business Community

The Salvation Army Bell Center and the Volunteers of America, both in Los Angeles, have agreements with local trucking firms to provide CDL training and jobs for their clients. The Veterans Outreach Center of Rochester, NY operates VETNET, which brings together staff, clients, and area employers for weekly meetings to develop networks and strategies.

Incentivizing Success

The St. Patrick Center of St. Louis provides quarterly bonus money from non-DOL sources for successful job retention. The Denver Department of Human Services developed a graduated system of supports and privileges based on ongoing success of the client.

Creative Training Programs

New Directions of Los Angeles opened the Veteran’s Village Diner that provides clients with training and employment in food services. Massachusetts Veterans, Inc. of Worcester operates the Mobile Education Center, an accessible RV equipped with 12 Dell computers, to expand access to computer training in several rural sites.

Veteran-to-Veteran Approach

Veterans Village of San Diego created an Alumni Association of successful clients who provide mentoring and support to new clients. MCVET in Baltimore organizes clients into platoons and squads, with individuals accountable to one another.

Additional resources:

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (2007). Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program: Best Practice Profiles of Employment Assistance Programs. Available online at

Author: Michael West, Virginia Commowealth University, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports and Job Retention

Editors: Valerie Brooke & Jennifer McDonough Virginia Commonwealth University, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports and Job Retention

Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Education and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution providing access to education and employment without regard to age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, veteran’s status, political affiliation, or disability. If special accommodations are needed, please contact Vicki Brooke at (804) 828-1851 VOICE or (804) 828-2494 TTY. This activity is funded through a grant (#HV-16488-07-75-5-51) with the U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Services.