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Understanding functional zero and the federal benchmarks and criteria for ending veteran homelessness

November 7, 2019

The Federal Criteria and Benchmarks for Achieving the Goal of Ending Veteran Homelessness and the functional zero standard represent different approaches to measurement, but they are not exclusive.

  • We believe that achieving the Federal Criteria and Benchmarks and/or Mayor’s Challenge criteria for ending veteran homelessness is an important milestone on the path to reaching functional zero, and a major accomplishment for a community.
  • The Federal Criteria and Benchmarks are complex and lay out valuable outcomes and system behaviors for communities. Learn more

Built for Zero’s definition of success, known as functional zero, lays out a standard that allows a community to measure cleanly, objectively, and in real time, whether it has ended veteran homelessness and also whether it is sustaining this outcome over time.

  • To achieve functional zero, a community must have fewer veterans experiencing homelessness than it can routinely house in permanent housing in a single month.
  • This measures whether communities have built systems that can achieve and sustain functional zero, even if new veterans experience housing crises over time.
  • Fewer communities have been able to reach functional zero than have satisfied the Federal Criteria and Benchmarks.
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