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.