Vision & Purpose
Our aim is that people in the tri-county area have access to safe and sustainable solutions for preventing and ending experiences of homelessness.
The VAEH believes a regional continuum of coordinated and accessible resources, guided by a shared housing-first approach, is the foundation for preventing and ending homelessness in Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties.
All partners are committed to ensuring that homelessness is a rare, brief and one-time experience and that services are accessible, effective, efficient.
Why this Initiative is Needed
Homelessness is an issue in the West Mountain Region
On any given night, there are roughly 150 people in the tri-county area that are without shelter. These individuals may be seen but most likely are invisible except to the agencies that interact with them on a routine basis as they work to meet their basic needs.
Due to the seasonal, mobile, and sometimes chronic aspects of homelessness, a long-term, comprehensive strategy was needed to address the complex needs and find funding, understand the problem with data, engage more voices and entities, and coordinate efforts already underway.
Goals & Strategies
The VAEH has created a 3-yr Strategic Plan (2023-2026) to accomplish the following goals:
- Reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness to achieve functional zero by 2026.
- Ensure safe and stable housing to meet the diverse needs of those experiencing homelessness.
- Collaboratively deliver the Built for Zero approach, consistently using housing first principles throughout the system.
- Demonstrate continuous system performance improvement annually.
- Achieve philanthropic and local government support equal to annual HUD funding.
Structure & Partnerships
How the VAEH is organized
Convening & Coordinating: West Mountain Regional Health Alliance
Governance: Valley Alliance to End Homelessness (VAEH)
Each VAEH partner contributes to governance. At Initiative Work Sessions partners work together on the direction and strategic goals of the alliance by actively participating to bring solutions and resources to the table.
Committees are comprised of partner organizations that make up the wider VAEH group and are dedicated to improving services and advocating and raising awareness on behalf of clients and partner agencies.
Catholic Charities logo
Pitkin County logo
Salvation Army Logo
Methods & Approaches
Partners that make up the VAEH are committed to making use of every tool and experience to try to reach the aim of reducing homelessness in the region.
- We partner with national efforts such as Built For Zero and Community Solutions to help understand and improve our systems of response.
- We make use of Housing and Urban Development's Homeless Management Information System tool to help improve services and know who is entering the area and how to direct them to resources.
- We strengthen the referral system among the wide variety of agencies that are offering services in mental and behavioral health, housing, and food because housing is usually one of many needs for homeless individuals and families.
- We seek to advocate for more housing options for short-term and long-term needs by directing funding and working with landlords.
- We set benchmarks for ourselves like reaching functionally zero homelessness in the region and continuously learn and evolve to understand what is driving homelessness and how to prevent and address it.
Results & Achievements
We are making progress
VAEH partners have helped hundreds of people find housing and keep them housed by matching needs with available resources, leveraging more resources, strengthening providers, and sharing information.
WMRHA maintains a dashboard on behalf of the VAEH in order to track key metrics so partners and funders can track the difference that is being made.