The Changing the Conversation podcast has created a series of episodes featuring the keynote speakers at the Built for Zero Conference and Learning Session in Detroit. In this episode, host Jeff Olivet talks with the Built for Zero Co-Directors Beth Sandor and Jake Maguire about their work to end homelessness.
The Built for Zero initiative applies problem-solving tools in order to help communities solve the complex and constantly shifting problem of homelessness.
“We’ve had to really lean into the mindset of failing forward and learning our way into the solutions,” said Sandor.
“What we’re trying to help communities develop is this new muscle around iteration.”
—Jake Maguire, Built for Zero co-director
The Built for Zero movement grew out of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which housed more than 100,000 people in four years. Although the Campaign successfully reached its housing goal, Community Solutions realized that we were not getting closer to our true aim: ending homelessness. This lead us to shift our approach. Instead of counting up to a housing placement goal, we would do whatever it takes to help communities end veteran and chronic homelessness. To date there have been 11 proof points where communities have ended homelessness in one of these subpopulations.
In order to reach these milestones, Built for Zero communities have applied the tools of quality improvement to test out ideas designed to reduce homelessness. They track their results with real-time data in order to see what’s working and course correct as needed.
“What we’re trying to help communities develop is this new muscle around iteration,” said Maguire. “How would we intelligently test ideas and see what works? And then build on those ideas to make our solutions better and better.”
Community Solutions is a non-profit organization that works to achieve a lasting end to homelessness that leaves no one behind.
Our initiative Built for Zero is a movement of 80+ communities working to measurably end homelessness.