National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans

NCHAVlogo The mission of the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans (NCHAV) is to promote recovery-oriented care for Veterans who are homeless or at-risk for homelessness. The Center is a national resource that informs practices designed to meet the VA’s Five Year Plan to End Homelessness among Veterans.




PresidentObama In 2009, President Obama and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced the federal government’s goal to end Veteran homelessness by 2015. As a result, the VA's National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans was established in May of 2009 in direct response to President Obama's mandate to end Veteran homelessness. The Center has three Nodes located in Philadelphia, PA, Tampa, FL and Bedford, MA and each Node works closely with its respective academic partner - University of Pennsylvania, University of South Florida, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


Recent Events

Suicide Prevention A historic suicide prevention agreement signed Nov. 8, 2012 between the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and the Massachusetts National Guard took a classic team effort and leadership by physicians and academics, generals and other military personnel. Led by Barry N. Feldman, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of Psychiatry Programs in Public Safety at UMMS, the collaboration is deeply rooted in the work and collective vision of the UMMS Department of Psychiatry and its faculty members.

Said Feldman, “This partnership is about helping our military personnel get the care and services they need and deserve so we can help prevent such tragedies.”  Read more...
David Smelson David Smelson, PsyD, professor of psychiatry and vice chair of clinical research, was interviewed by The Boston Globe for a Nov. 12, 2012 story on the Commonwealth’s leading the way nationally in veterans’ services. Read the article at
Smelson Secretary National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans staff address Secretary Shinseki during his visit to the Center in Philadelphia, PA on April 11, 2012. The Center develops, promotes and enhances policy, clinical care research and education to improve and integrate homeless services across VA, playing a significant role in reaching the goal of ending Veteran homelessness by 2015.



The primary goal of the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans is to support both VA and Federal Strategic plans to end Veteran homelessness as outlined in Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homeless published by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness in 2010. The Center aims to achieve these goals by improving the processes and outcomes for permanent housing, health care and quality of life for Veterans who are homeless or at-risk for homelessness.

Bedford Node & UMass Medical School


Our research on co-occurring disorders and homelessness at the Bedford Node focuses on understanding more about the prevalence of homelessness and the treatment of mental illness and addiction among Veterans. Specifically, we examine what services homeless Veterans utilize, what programs are most effective, how to best identify Veterans who are at-risk of homelessness, the development of interventions to improve housing stability and how to better engage homeless Veterans with complex and multifaceted clinical needs.

We also seek to identify the factors that predict homelessness among Veterans, develop and implement evidence-based interventions, formulate policy recommendations and disseminate findings. Another goal of our group is to better understand the interchange between mental health comorbidities, homelessness and addiction among homeless Veterans. Within this larger area, we have several areas of expertise including manual development, co-occurring disorders treatment, use of peer support, anti-stigma programming, use of mobile technologies to promote treatment engagement, supported employment/education and criminal justice research.