1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Around Our Offices
  4. Real Data in Real Time: How a By-Name List Can Help End Homelessness

One of the hallmarks of our culture at Quicken Loans is being obsessed with finding a better way. We believe that solving big problems sometimes means thinking differently. That’s why we were so excited to partner with Community Solutions on its Built for Zero initiative to end veteran and chronic homelessness.

Built for Zero helps communities think differently about homelessness and how to address it, specifically by focusing on better data. Read on to learn more about how this new approach has helped communities participating in Built for Zero to house more than 65,000 veterans and continue to drive more reductions every day.

Point-in-Time Counts: A Snapshot into the Problem

In January, communities across the country will participate in their annual point-in-time counts, an effort to document every individual experiencing homelessness within their community. Point-in-time counts are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for communities that receive federal funds to address homelessness and they are critical in helping the government, and the public at large, see whether progress is being made.

Unfortunately, point-in-time counts alone are insufficient to assess the true scope of homelessness. Imagine you were running a major retail chain, but you could only measure your inventory once a year. We all know you can’t run a business that way, yet that’s exactly how most U.S. communities track, measure and respond to homelessness.

Dynamic Problems Need Dynamic Data

Because homelessness is a dynamic problem, communities need dynamic data to address it. That’s why Built for Zero helps communities develop a by-name list of individuals experiencing homelessness. It’s difficult work, but the difference is monumental. Rather than focusing on an abstract problem, a by-name list allows communities to see the real people struggling with homelessness and pinpoint where there are breakdowns within their existing systems.

With an accurate by-name list that is shared between service providers, it’s easier to identify when an individual falls into homelessness and provide them with the resources they need quickly. As communities learn more about who is experiencing homelessness, they can continue to make adjustments to their processes and drive reductions. Eventually, the goal is to reach functional zero, where the number of people experiencing homelessness is less than the number you can house in a given month.

If that sounds impossible, just look at the story of Rockford, Illinois, profiled in the video at the top of this article. Thanks to the hard work, dedication and vision of the team in Rockford, their community was the first in the country to reach functional zero for both veteran and chronic homelessness.

Ending Veteran Homelessness Together

At Quicken Loans, we know how important a stable home is in building a successful future, which is why we’re working with Community Solutions on its Built for Zero initiative. We believe that ending veteran homelessness is possible, but it means adjusting the way we think about the problem. It means building bridges between public, private and nonprofit organizations so that it’s easier to get help. And it means rebuilding the systems that are in place today with a different goal.

We must no longer ask, “How can I help people experiencing homelessness?” We must focus instead on building a system that will end homelessness.

Learn more about Built for Zero and how you can support progress in your community.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. My husband and I have been homeless going on 3 years now in March. We are wanting to have our own home. We both can’t get an apartment in our names because my husband is a felon and I have evictions from years ago. I get SSI and have been for the last 11 years. My husband hasn’t been able to get a job because he won’t leave me alone on the streets and also he takes care of me.

    1. Good morning, Karen:

      Thank you for your comment. Every community has resources to assist people experiencing homelessness and the odds are good that you’ve already connected with one or several of them. Increasingly, communities are focused on “Housing First” strategies that prioritize getting individuals experiencing homelessness into stable, secure housing as quickly as possible with no preconditions. If you’re able to connect with a local housing authority or social services worker, inquire about subsidized housing or other options that can provide a path to a more stable situation.

    1. Hi Deitra:

      If you’re a veteran who could use assistance through this program, I’m going to give you a couple of resources. Our partners at Community Solutions have a general info email you can reach out to for more details. That address is: info@community.solutions .

      They also have offices in various parts of the country which you can see here. Even if they’re not in your area, they may be able to point you in the right direction in terms of getting assistance. Hope this helps!

      If you happen to be looking for a mortgage, you’ve come to the right place. You can use Rocket Mortgage to apply online or give one of our Home Loan Experts a call at (888) 980-6716.

  2. This program sounds like a better alternative to the government throwing money at a complicated problem and hoping something sticks. My son-in-law is a social worker and has worked with homeless veterans as well as other homeless persons. He found first hand that a significant percentage of the homeless are not willing to give up their drug addictions and, worse, are allowed spaces at shelters to shoot up. If more companies like Quicken would adopt and support this By Name type of program, we can address the issue and help people who want to be helped and stop wasting taxpayers money on a losing cause.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *