Meeting our goal of functional zero by January 1st, 2020 means implementing strategies that have been proven to combat homelessness.

These strategies include:

Developing and Analyzing Real-Time Data

Homelessness is a dynamic, person-specific issue that changes from day to day and from person to person. It requires real-time, up-to-date data on every individual experiencing homelessness.

Optimizing Local Housing Resources

Placing individuals experiencing homelessness into permanent and stable housing requires outreach from case managers, community partners, and everyone else involved. 

Tracking Progress Against Monthly Goals

In order to reach functional zero, communities need to be aware of the monthly housing placement rate compared to the inflow of veterans into homelessness. Setting target goals helps communities to stay on track when working to end homelessness.

Developing and Analyzing
Real-Time Data on homelessness

Each year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to count the number of people experiencing homelessness in that community’s geographic area through the Point-in-Time (PIT) count.

Although this annual collection of data is helpful in creating a national estimate of individuals experiencing homelessness, it isn’t sufficient enough for communities responding to individual homelessness cases on a daily basis.

Homelessness is a dynamic, person-specific issue that changes from day to day and from person to person. It requires real-time, up-to-date data on every individual experiencing homelessness.

The data team at Community Solutions worked with communities and partners nationwide to develop a clear, measurable standard for real-time data and tested it over several months. Then they “developed tools to communicate this standard in ways communities would understand, and to normalize the new behavior.”

They named it the By-Name List.

In order to end homelessness, communities nationwide have adopted an aggressive, data-driven approach that requires the creation of a real-time, up-to-date list of all individuals experiencing homelessness in a community. This list is known as a By-Name List (BNL), and accounts for all homeless subpopulations in the community.

BNLs are generated from data collected by outreach teams, federal programs, HMIS (Homeless Information Management System), and other community agencies involved in homelessness efforts. Each BNL can be filtered into categories and shared across involved agencies in each community.

Northeast Florida’s Built for Zero goal of reaching functional zero for all veterans experiencing homelessness requires our team to focus solely on our community’s veteran BNL. 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs states that by-name lists can help:

  • Ensure all veterans experiencing homelessness within a community are identified and their housing needs are known. 
  • Track the status and progress toward permanent housing of each of these veterans.
  • Coordinate housing and services for each veteran household between all community providers.
  • Measure progress toward goals and how close a community is to reaching an end to homelessness among veterans.
  • Identify key barriers to goal attainment and opportunities to resolve them.

BNLs are not waiting lists—individuals on these lists may already be accessing programs, waiting for housing units, or resolving their homelessness on their own. These lists are meant to give partnering agencies involved in ending veteran homelessness a thorough understanding of the people in their community that need to be re-housed at any given time.

The By-Name List is used to track the flow of individuals in and out of homelessness in a community, a.k.a. inflow and outflow.

A community’s inflow measures the number of individuals entering homelessness every month, while a community’s outflow measures the number of individuals exiting homelessness every month.

It sounds painfully obvious, but “ending homelessness” is simply creating a system where the outflow is greater than the inflow.

Inflow, or the monthly amount of individuals entering homelessness in a community, can be broken down into the following categories:

  1. Newly identified
  2. Returned to active on the by-name list
  3. Returned from housing

Outflow, or the monthly amount of individuals exiting homelessness in a community, can be broken down into the following categories:

  1. Housing Placements
  2. Moved to Inactive on the by-name list

It’s important to keep track of a community’s inflow vs its outflow because it identifies which strategies are successful in increasing outflow and which strategies are not.

Take this scenario from Community Solutions:

“For example, suppose the by-name list reveals a process logjam, meaning too few people are moving successfully into housing each month. A targeted community response may involve setting a measurable aim to streamline the housing process, such as completing it in 30 or 60 days, on average.

On the other hand, suppose the list reveals that people are moving through the housing process relatively quickly, but an abundance of new inflow is overwhelming the system. In this case, a community may choose to test targeted problem-solving partnerships with key upstream partners to improve diversion or reduce vulnerability to homelessness among key populations. If the majority of new inflow is coming from those who have previously been placed into housing, leaders may focus on improving housing retention practices at the program level. This process of identifying areas for improvement and testing targeted strategies can continue until monthly reductions begin to emerge.”