WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 7, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — Community Solutions announced yesterday that it has selected 67 communities to participate in Zero: 2016, a national campaign to end veteran and chronic homelessness in the next two years. The organization said it would work intensively with these communities to meet the federal goals set by President Obama to end veteran homelessness by Dec. 2015 and chronic homelessness by Dec. 2016. The initiative, made possible by the support of generous sponsors, including Deutsche Bank, Got Your 6, The Home Depot Foundation, and JP Morgan Chase, is a rigorous follow-on to the group’s successful 100,000 Homes Campaign, which announced in June that it had helped communities house 105,000 chronically homeless Americans in under four years.
Zero: 2016 will formally launch in January of 2015, when the majority of communities participating say they will walk their streets block by block to survey each of their homeless neighbors during the national 2015 Homeless Point-in-Time Count. Communities will use this information to develop by-name files on each person experiencing homelessness on their streets — a strategy designed to help communities connect people to available subsidies and appropriate housing options as quickly as possible.
Participating communities will seek to accelerate their housing efforts through four key areas of work: closing the research-to-practice gap, real-time data and performance management, local systems redesign and local leadership development. Community Solutions will provide hands-on coaching and data tools, and will curate a national peer-to-peer learning network to accelerate innovation across communities.
“Chronic and veteran homelessness are urgent, solvable problems,” said Beth Sandor, Director of Zero: 2016 for Community Solutions. “These communities represent a potential tipping point. If they can show that getting to zero is possible, we think it will become untenable for other communities not to follow suit. Zero: 2016 is about bringing shared accountability to this work. Participants are making a public commitment to get to zero on time, and they will use that commitment to drive measurable progress.”
This announcement comes on the heels of the 2014 Homeless Point-in-Time Count, released last week by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which showed that homelessness continues to decline across virtually all major categories. According to the report, communities selected to join Zero: 2016 account for a combined 31,669 chronically homeless Americans and 16,218 homeless veterans. Community Solutions estimates an overlap of 9,000-12,000 between these groups.
The 67 communities selected for Zero: 2016 represent 30 different states and the District of Columbia. Among them are 51 communities who also participated in the 100,000 Homes Campaign and 16 new communities. Combined, the group represents the joint, public commitment of 234 housing authorities, local government entities, non-profit organizations and community agencies. Five states (Connecticut, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah and West Virginia) were selected to participate as full states.
Zero: 2016 dovetails with other large-scale initiatives helping communities end homelessness, including the 25 Cities Initiative, led by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Mayor’s Challenge to End Homelessness, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Many communities selected to join Zero: 2016 are also participating in one or both of these initiatives, and Community Solutions has coordinated extensively with the federal government to ensure that these efforts complement each other well.
To view a list of the communities selected for the Zero: 2016 campaign, click here.