The eastern region of Tennessee Valley, which includes 68 cities spread across 12 counties, has made the invisible, visible. It has created a system that ensures that veterans living without housing are identified and receive the support they need to escape homelessness.
Tennessee Valley is a community participating in Built for Zero, a movement of more than 80 cities and counties working to measurably end homelessness, one population at a time.
“Veterans have served our country,” said Brandon Harris, Director of Homeless Services at the Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless. “It’s up to us in our communities to do what we can to assist them if they need it, and to provide them homes.”
A critical turning point for the community was creating a real-time list of every veteran experiencing homelessness. This required knowing each person, understanding what challenges they were facing, and maintaining this information in a by-name list.
Using this by-name list, the team has worked to drive reductions in veteran homelessness on their journey to functional zero.
Julie McGorty, the Chief Executive Officer for the Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless, said they would not stop until homelessness was rare and brief for all veterans in the region.
“They did so much to fight for our freedom that we should do the same to fight for theirs.”