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Screening for Homelessness in the Veterans Health Administration: Monitoring Housing Stability through Repeat Screening.

Byrne T, Fargo JD, Montgomery AE, Roberts CB, Culhane DP, Kane V. Screening for Homelessness in the Veterans Health Administration: Monitoring Housing Stability through Repeat Screening. Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974). 2015 Nov 1; 130(6):684-92.

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OBJECTIVE: This study examined veterans'' responses to the Veterans Health Administration''s (VHA''s) universal screen for homelessness and risk of homelessness during the first 12 months of implementation. METHODS: We calculated the baseline annual frequency of homelessness and risk of homelessness among all veterans who completed an initial screen during the study period. We measured changes in housing status among veterans who initially screened positive and then completed a follow-up screen, assessed factors associated with such changes, and identified distinct risk profiles of veterans who completed a follow-up screen. RESULTS: More than 4 million veterans completed an initial screen; 1.8% (n = 77,621) screened positive for homelessness or risk of homelessness. Of those who initially screened positive for either homelessness or risk of homelessness and who completed a second screen during the study period, 85.0% (n = 15,060) resolved their housing instability prior to their second screen. Age, sex, race, VHA eligibility, and screening location were all associated with changes in housing stability. We identified four distinct risk profiles for veterans with ongoing housing instability. CONCLUSION: To address homelessness among veterans, efforts should include increased and targeted engagement of veterans experiencing persistent housing instability.

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