Fourteen U.S. communities have met this standard for ending veteran or chronic homelessness — and many more are on their way.
What is functional zero?
Homelessness is a dynamic problem, so the end state for solving it needs to be dynamic, too. Functional zero is a milestone that indicates a community has measurably ended homelessness for a population — and that they are sustaining that end. Reaching and sustaining functional zero is in service of building a future where homelessness is rare overall, and brief when it occurs.
Before a community can start working toward functional zero, they must first gather quality data on everyone is experiencing homelessness. A by-name list is a comprehensive list of every person in a community experiencing homelessness, updated at least monthly. This data is used by communities to better match housing solutions with individuals, understand the population-level dynamics of homelessness in their community (like inflow and outlow), target systems improvements and changes, and track whether all of these efforts are resulting in population-level reductions in homelessness.
A community has achieved functional zero for veteran homelessness when there are fewer veterans experiencing homelessness than can be routinely housed in a month, with a minimum threshold of 3.
> What’s the difference between functional zero and the USICH Federal Criteria and Benchmarks for ending veteran homelessness?
A community has ended chronic homelessness when the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness is zero, or if not zero, than either 3 or .1% of the total number of individuals reported in the most recent point-in-time count, whichever is greater.
Ending homelessness isn’t just possible — it’s already happening.
All communities at functional zero will be reviewed annually to ensure they are sustaining this dynamic end state for ending homelessness.
12 communities have ended veteran homelessness
The value of Zero
The Urban Institute studies the impact of reaching functional zero.