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Freethink: California City Ends Its Chronic Homelessness

The key to its success? Real-time data.
  |  January 9, 2021

For most people who experience homelessness, the situation is temporary — they might lose their job unexpectedly and find themselves on the street for a spell before landing a new one. 

Chronic homelessness is a different beast. It’s recurrent or long-lasting, and the people who experience it also have a documented disability, such as a drug addiction or serious mental illness

Those disabilities can make it particularly hard for people experiencing chronic homelessness to break the cycle — they might have more trouble finding work or accessing resources that could help them get back on their feet. 

Now, Bakersfield, California, has effectively ended its chronic homelessness as part of a nationwide initiative called Built for Zero. The key to the initiative’s success, according to proponents, is real-time data.