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Next City: When It Comes to Ending Homelessness, What Does “Functional Zero” Really Mean?

June 15, 2021

Built for Zero, which recently received a $100 million grant from the the MacArthur Foundation, is an approach to reducing homelessness that’s based on segmenting the total homeless population into subcategories, building by-name lists of every person in those categories, and finding tailored solutions to house every person on each of those lists. Cities are said to reach “functional zero” for veterans when the number of homeless veterans in the community is less than 3, or less than the number of veterans that can be routinely housed every month, according to the campaign. For chronically homeless people, functional zero means less than 3 or less than 0.1% of the overall homeless population at the annual point-in-time count. Cities that have reached functional zero for veterans or chronically homeless people include BakersfieldRockford, Illinois, and Abilene, Texas, as Next City has reported.