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Abilene, Texas Ends Veteran Homelessness as Part of Built for Zero

At Quicken Loans, we believe that if you sacrifice to keep our country strong and safe, you deserve a place to call home. That’s why we’re proud to support Built for Zero, a national initiative to end veteran homelessness.


Through Built for Zero, more than 70 communities have housed more than 65,000 veterans. Even more impressive: eight communities have ended veteran homelessness. Today, we’re proud to share that this number is increasing to nine as Abilene, Texas has joined this list!

Abilene’s success is a testament both to the passion of that community and the success of Built for Zero. Keep reading to learn how Abilene became the fastest community to reach functional zero for veteran homelessness, achieving this remarkable milestone in only 10 months!

They Accounted for Everyone

For John Meier, ending veteran homelessness is personal. After serving in the U.S. Marines Corps, Meier experienced a layoff and then lost his own housing through eviction. With no other housing options, he slept in his car for three months. Fortunately, Meier was able to escape homelessness through the support of the Veterans Affairs and a dedicated case manager. Since then, Meier’s been working hard to provide this same support for other veterans through the organization Home Again West Texas.

 Making the problem of homelessness personal is key to the success of Built for Zero. The Abilene team set out to meet each person experiencing homeless in their community, learned what challenges they were facing and collected this information in a by-name list. With a regularly updated by-name list, they kept track of each person who entered or exited homelessness and received the information they needed to provide the right solution for them. 

They Worked Together

Having a shared goal is essential to success, which is why all the agencies focused on homelessness in Abilene formed a command center to meet regularly and discuss their strategies. With a common mission to end veteran homelessness, the group met twice a month to develop strategies on reducing the by-name list. With each meeting, they would report on how many veterans were experiencing homelessness and what actions they could take to help them into housing – this created shared accountability and drove momentum. The more the numbers dropped, the more excited the group became to reach zero.  

They Tried New Things

 With a problem as complex as homelessness, there’s no single strategy that’s right – which is why it’s important to try new things. The Abilene community collaborated on a mix of strategies and measured their impact on reductions. Some ideas focused on preventing veterans from losing their homes. Other ideas were focused on housing veterans actively experiencing homelessness. Whatever strategy they tried, the team made sure to track their progress to find out what worked best. 

Eventually, they hit on the right mix of strategies that allowed them to house veterans more quickly, reducing the average length of time from more than 40 days down to 26 days. To help get Abilene over the last mile, they even held a 100-Day Mayor’s Challenge to motivate the community even more. With these strategies in place, Abilene is now focused on maintaining this achievement and moving on to chronic homelessness.

To learn more about how Abilene and other communities have ended veteran homelessness, check out the Built for Zero website or read this interview with Rosanne Haggerty, the President and CEO of Community Solutions.

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Forgot to add. II am a recon covert op 1978 cold war eruope recieving COMBAT pay. the was no Garry Owen pipe/drum corp as listed at that time. thats all i can say really.

    1. Hi Russell:

      It sounds like you’ve had a difficult situation and I very much sympathize. I’ve removed the name of the person you’ve had the disputes with, but I’m going to get this to our team to see if we can go ahead and get you connected with people or organizations who might be able to provide assistance in your area.

      1. Yes I have heard that before for the past 30 years pal. And just how reliable is a vet group who thinks The Garry Owen is a person? I have ZERO confidence you will actually help IF i am even contacted. However YES please do contact me. Garry Owen is the 7th Cavalry.

        1. Hi Russell:

          I’m sorry about the confusion. I answer comments for Quicken Loans and I know a lot about mortgages, but I’m not steeped in the military lexicon. We are not the vet group ourselves, but we work with a group that works with vets in Built for Zero. That said, I have gotten your comment to the correct team to have someone contact you.

  2. NO! see the problem is not systemic. My experience was low income housing run by a fascist minded guy who has a handwritten sign in the office “PUBLIC HOUSING IS A PRIVILEGE NOT A RIGHT” he himself a Navy vet. once i reported black mold to him he did everything he could to evict me and i became a homeless vet again – THATS the REAL problem.
    When i went to vet colation here they decided to block my apllication for benifits, drop my POA with no noticed and stopped my claim without my knowledge – because I was friends with a guy they o not like. I sued them unsucesfully as I did it myself but the courts gave it merit. Lost my apt, health, hearing, and everything but the clothes I wore. Was forced to the missions in Yakima WA where 1 murder a month is not uncommon on the block. For a year, but before tht spent 7 months sub-zero temps in a concrete basement of abandonded building so bathing or nothing. The vet coalition refused so i went up the chain of command to commisioners – nothing. I had to get police just to get my personal records from them. They changed they basis of my claim with out my knowledge and had to restart it TWICE still nothing and even worse…i have to wait for this restart to end before the coalitions interference information can even be sent. THATS THE PROBLEM YOU LIEING FASCISTS! Even now as I have posted this to a site that helps – this will be ignored. Garry Owen

  3. As a Marine veteran, I applaud the work of those spearheading the Built For Zero campaign as one solution to the homeless veteran situation. The issue is more complex than any one reason for anyone experiencing homelessness but it is an issue worth working to solve or, at the least, offer hope to those seeking it.

    1. Hi Mark:

      Thank you for your comment. One of the things that makes Built for Zero effective is how it provides communities a framework for identifying individuals experiencing homelessness quickly through a coordinated point-of-entry system. That way, a community can understand the drivers of homelessness in real-time. While it is still possible that people are missed, it is far less likely in a system where these measures are in place. If you know a veteran who could benefit from assistance, we would love to get that information to our partners at Community Solutions. I’m going to reach out to you via email and we can pass along any information you have to the team. You can also connect with Home Again West Texas, which coordinates the work locally.

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