Rockford, Illinois

Rockford Map

Coverage Area

  • Cities: Rockford, Belvidere, and several small towns
  • Counties: Winnebago & Boone Counties
  • Total Population: Over 350,000

Functional Zero

Learn how Rockford, Illinois reached functional zero.


In January of 2017, Rockford became the first community in the United States to end both chronic and veteran homelessness. This journey began in December 2015, when Rockford reached functional zero for veteran homelessness, demonstrating that there are fewer veterans experiencing homelessness than can be routinely housed within a month.

By reaching functional zero for veteran and chronic homelessness, the community has proven it has built a system that can ensure homelessness is rare and brief, even if new people experience housing crises over time. As part of Built for Zero, Rockford changed how its homeless response system works by adopting the core elements of the Built for Zero methodology: 

  • Using real-time, person-specific data to know every person experiencing chronic homelessness or veteran experiencing homelessness by name and target efforts and resources accordingly
  • Building a unified regional team, or a “command center,” under one roof around a shared aim of getting to functional zero
  • Using data to redesign Rockford’s homeless response and strategically target resources 
Angie Walker conducting outreach in Rockford, Illinois.

“Every population is slightly different. But one of the main things about this work is just believing that it’s possible.”

Angie Walker, Homeless Program Coordinator at the City of Rockford and Built for Zero Team Lead in ROCKFORD.
Read the case study