Area homeless prevention officials are hoping a campaign to end veteran and chronic homelessness in Lee County by 2016 sends ripples throughout the community and beyond in solving the program.
Community Solutions, a New York City-based nonprofit, is spearheading the Zero: 2016 campaign in 69 communities, according to a news release from the Lee County Homeless Coalition.
According to the coalition, the latest Point-in-Time Count report, which documents the amount of people without a home on a single night in January, shows a drop in area homeless people.
About 224 people and 124 veterans in the area experienced homeless as the survey was taken.
According to the Housing Urban Development’s 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to congress, 578,424 people were homeless during a single night in 2014.
“No one should have to experience homelessness,” Lee County Homeless Coalition Executive Director Janet Bartos said in responding news release. “Far too many in our community suffer needlessly because they have no home. Zero: 2016 will provide a road map with solutions and help us get our community engaged.”
The initiative will begin in January during the Point-in-Time Count. Instead of just counting, the plan is to use an evidence-based survey to identify homeless residents by name and ask what resources are more likely to help them end their homelessness.
“To make rapid progress, communities will need to measure the size and needs of their homeless populations in real time and use monthly data to improve their housing performance,” said Beth Sandor, Zero: 2016 director, in a statement. “You can’t solve a problem that you only measure once a year.”