ORGANIZATION NAME: Community Solutions International
LOCATION: Riverside, California, USA
SUMMARY: Built for Zero, an initiative of Community Solutions, works with 70 communities across the United States to help them end chronic and veteran homelessness.
PROBLEM SPACE: Since 2010, the federal government has invested an average of $4.7 billion/year into homeless programs. However, the broken service delivery systems in the United States have produced an epidemic of individuals stuck in long-term and/or recurrent cycles of homelessness. From our conversations with homeless individuals, we have learned that the greatest stumbling block to individuals ending their homelessness is the dizzying complexity of the programs existing to assist them. Little progress has been made to-date towards actually ending homelessness because no amount of investment can overcome the fact that those dollars land within broken local systems lacking critical drivers of success: collaboration biased toward urgency and action over processing/planning; sophisticated data/performance management; quality improvement; movement building for behavioral/cultural change. The homelessness system needs to be transformed into one that is data driven and driving down the number of people experiencing homelessness on a continuous basis.
SOLUTION: "Community Solutions is working with 70 communities to achieve a permanent end to chronic and veteran homelessness. We support communities through a collaborative model, adapted from the successful Institute for Healthcare Improvement Breakthrough Series model. In addition to the targeted coaching of communities, we provide data and performance management tools to help communities accurately measure and address the number of homeless people in their community. We also help communities develop and maintain a By-Name List (a real-time, person-specific list of everyone experiencing homelessness in a community). Finally, we will bring all Built for Zero communities together twice this year with interactive training, expert support, community goal setting and concrete action planning.
We know our goal is achievable because, to date, six communities have ended veteran homelessness (Riverside, CA; Rockford, IL; Arlington, VA; Montgomery County, MD; Fort Myers, FL; and Gulf Port, MS), and two have ended chronic homelessness (Lancaster, PA and Bergen County, NJ). These communities have maintained zero for at least six months. Overall, 38,474 veterans have been housed and 20,691 chronically homeless individuals. Our goal is to have 12 communities end veteran homelessness and 10 communities end chronic homelessness by the January 2018."