Currently there is a shortage of emergency shelter and transitional housing “inventory” or “capacity” in El Paso County to support both homeless veterans, and indigent homeless citizens. With only a handful of temporary shelter facilities in Colorado Springs that address 100-200 temporary beds during winter months, the need for a more long-term and year round sustainable solution is needed.
The Challenge for Veterans:
- An average of 150-200 veterans are homeless each night in El Paso County - a third of which are unsheltered, meaning they sleep outside, Homes for Veterans estimates.
- Annually, about 300-400 homeless veterans seek services from at last one area nonprofit. And each year this will increase with force reductions.
- Unfortunately there is not enough long term housing properties available, and the real need today is in the Emergency and Transitional housing areas instead.
The Creation of an Online Solution:
- VSS had seen a need in the development of an "online lodging database" that could be developed independently to support multiple veteran aid agencies and organizations to provide a "rolling inventory" of available emergency, and short term lodging options for Veterans and their families that we could "reserve or book" on a short notice.
- This platform which was developed by Ensemble to be used for this purpose was created on a community focused database driven CMS/CRM web services platform iscalled "ConnectCore" which is a unique "Community Online Resource Exchange". For more info access the site here: https://www.connectcore.org
- Because the reservation platform is designed to assist Veterans and their families in locating lodging options, it also has become a tool to assist in the Case Management of these Veterans and as been adapted to become an initial "intake solution" for VSS Case Managers to manage the initial Veteran Information that is gathered to assist a veteran in seeking out support services from the community.
What was Needed:
After discussions with local care and aid agencies, the team at Veterans Support Solutions, L3c and Ensemble Ventures, LLC determined that the real challenge facing the local support agencies is a lack of emergency or transitional housing “inventory” that can be accessed on a real time basis by Aid Agency Case Workers, and be “available” for immediate booking and reservation.
We believe that a coordinated “Lodging Outreach” program could be directed to a number of local Hotels and Motels in the Colorado Springs and El Paso County areas where it might be sustainable if a comprehensive community-oriented approach model was used, and “incentives” were used to gain participation and support.
Essentially a public/private “online resource exchange” for managing the acquisition and delivery of hotel/motel/apartments inventory to the local community was required, and the need to engage the public would be a key for its success.
Today the initial AxisPoint platform has been set-up and is being used as an intake solution for VSS to manage its Veterans and their families in terms of a Case Management System. In 2020 we are planning on adding the Emergency and Transitional Housing Reservation and Booking features to complete the Veteran Lodging Inventory solution and to open this up to third party aid agencies for use and access.
We have identified a financial need for the completion and expansion of the AxisPoint Program/Platform for the Veteran Lodging solution in the range of $5K-$10K which would enable us to complete the balance of development of the solution, develop training materials and launch it into the local Veteran Support community. If you are interested in supporting this effort let us know HERE.