Zero homelessness is possible: A collaborative methodology was first pioneered in the health care sector to combat the spread of deadly infections. The only program that has proven to reduce or eliminate homelessness is a similar collaborative methodology. According to David Bornstein in The New York Times, “nine communities in the United States have reached a rigorous standard known as ‘functional zero’ for chronic homelessness — a standard that indicates homelessness is rare” (“A growing drive to get homelessness to zero,” June 5, 2018).
Our plan, phase one: Prevention, coordination, and planning. There are things we already are doing to prevent long-term homelessness. A great example is the relocation and expansion of the Eddy House, with a new focus on training homeless youth to help them acquire the skills they need to get a job to escape a life of chronic homelessness. As for planning, over the past year, our local governments established the Community Homelessness Advisory Board, which meets regularly to work collaboratively to develop solutions. The CHAB commissioned a study by OrgCode Consulting, implemented some of the report’s recommendations, and recently joined Built for Zero. This national program helps communities achieve the goal of “zero functional homeless.”