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.
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