Lake County, Illinois

Lake County, Illinois Map

Coverage Area

  • Cities: 2
  • Counties: 1
  • Total Population: 696,535

Functional Zero

Brenda O’Connell describes what it looks like to reach functional zero.


On July 2, Lake County, Illinois announced that they have reached functional zero and met federal benchmarks and criteria for ending veteran homelessness. They are the 11th community in the nation to reach Functional Zero on veteran or chronic homelessness.

By reaching this milestone, the suburban county north of Chicago created a local system that can house more veterans in a month than enter into homelessness. For them, this meant that they have less than 5 veterans actively experiencing homelessness, which is the average number of veterans the system can house in a month. In doing so, they have created an environment where homelessness is brief and permanently resolved when it occurs, and rare overall.

Lake County Team

“People think ending homelessness is not achievable, because the system wasn’t designed to end it — it was designed to manage it. But if you redesign it with zero in mind, it can be ended.”

Brenda O’Connell, Continuum of Care Program Coordinator of Lake County and community lead for Built for Zero in LAKE County.
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