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Community Solutions’ homelessness policy recommendations

The Built for Zero model works to help communities reduce the number of people who experience homelessness. It’s time to make it the law of the land.
April 23, 2024

Since 2015, Community Solutions has led Built for Zero, a movement of 105 communities that are proving it’s possible to drive — and sustain — population-level reductions in homelessness.

We can create a reality where homelessness is rare overall, and brief when it occurs. Ensuring that this becomes the norm, rather than the exception, will require the United States to align policies, information systems, and human and financial resources toward measurable, population-level reductions in homelessness. 

Our goal: Enact federal, state, and local policies that drive reductions in homelessness so that every community can make homelessness rare and brief.

1. Empower high-level leadership

Establish a dedicated command center with the authority to coordinate services, foster collaboration across organizations, and drive reductions in homelessness. Ensure transparency through public reporting.

2. Utilize real-time data

Implement high-quality, real-time, by-name data systems to coordinate services and track the inflow and outflow of individuals experiencing homelessness. Public dashboards should be made available to monitor progress.

3. Expand affordable housing

Tailor housing solutions to meet local needs and market conditions by increasing affordable housing options, providing rental assistance, preserving existing homes, and adding new affordable apartments and homes.

4. Invest in infrastructure and operations

Secure adequate funding for the development of data infrastructure, ensure quality administration, operational effectiveness, and offer fair wages to staff in homeless services.

5. Finish the job of ending veteran homelessness

Federal agencies and partners optimize their resources to make veteran homelessness rare and brief.

6. Cut red tape

Regulatory reforms that reduce the time it takes for people to go from homeless to housed, cutting through bureaucratic delays.

7. Adopt humane encampment policies

Develop and enforce policies for resolving encampments that focus on housing and services, avoiding criminalization and ensuring respectful treatment of those experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

8. Support migrants and asylum seekers

Create policies tailored to the unique needs of migrants and asylum seekers, employing proven methodology to integrate them into homeless response systems effectively.

9. Address racial equity

Explicitly address issues of representation, diversity, and inclusion of those most impacted by homelessness in discussions, recommendations, and actions directed at policy change.

10. Discourage criminalization

Oppose the arrest or fining of people experiencing homelessness by promoting proven, effective solutions to ending homelessness.