How do you reduce homelessness? There really is a solution.

You move people off the street and into housing, but to do that you must bring together determined, like-minded people, set a bold goal and work together to reach it.

After the successful 100,000 Homes Campaign launched in July of 2010, Community Solutions established Zero: 2016 “to help committed U.S. communities end chronic and veteran homelessness…” ultimately that initiative evolved into Built for Zero.

In late 2011, Jacksonville joined the journey implementing 100 Homes Jacksonville. We didn’t stop there. We’ve continued working with Community Solutions. We know our vision to end homelessness is an ideal, but that doesn’t discourage the 40+ agencies focused on the homeless in our community. We are a Built for Zero community making significant progress.

Working with our partners, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Ability Housing, Clara White Mission, I.M. Sulzbacher, LSF Health Systems, and Mental Health Resource Center, we have established a robust, coordinated entry process (community-wide standard for access, assessment, and referrals to housing and services) and By Name List with case conferencing, which is just as it sounds – a real-time and up-to-date list of people that are homeless. To be clear, it is not a waiting list. It is a list based on need.

By combining coordinated entry, the By Name List, and weekly case conferencing, we instituted a process and plan to know where we are, who is there with us and what we need to do for them. In fact, all agencies who are partners in the process are in the know. And being in the know has been critical to reducing homelessness in our community.

As David Bornstein noted, effective strategies are improving performance.

From 2009 to 2017, our community (Duval, Clay, and Nassau counties) reported a 23.5 percent decrease in overall homelessness with an 80 percent decrease for veterans and a 58 percent decrease for the chronically homeless.

Our community is housing people, but we’re not quite there yet. To continue reducing the number of people who are homelessness, we must keep moving them off the streets.

If you would like to be a part of this movement, a part of changing homelessness, join us.

Author: Changing Homelessness, Inc.

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