Rockford, Ill., was the first community in the United States to reach the “functional zero level” for veterans, and the second community to do so for chronic homelessness.
“Every person who is homeless in our community that we are aware of goes on our by-name list, which is broken out by subpopulations: chronic, veteran, family, single and youth.”
“So if we’re working on veterans, we’ll have the V.A., the local veteran agencies, mental health agencies and substance abuse agencies, and we’ll sit down with the list and say: ‘O.K., John Smith is No. 1. Who’s working with him? How do we get him housed as fast as we can?’ And we go literally name by name. It makes a huge difference because they stop being ‘the homeless’ and become people we all know. And we become very vested in making sure John Smith is housed and safe and has the services he needs to stay housed.”
Rockford is one of 77 communities in the United States that are part of the Built for Zero initiative coordinated by Community Solutions, an organization that led the 100,000 Homes Campaign that my colleague,