Veteran Homelessness is Solvable

Homelessness is solvable. Our nation’s progress in reducing veteran homelessness is a testament to our ability to make homelessness rare and brief for entire populations.

Proof that solving veteran homelessness is possible

Boulder, Colorado, has reached quality data for veteran homelessness.

It’s the first of nine subregions in the Metro Denver area to reach this milestone, which represents an important step in effectively addressing veteran homelessness. This means they know every veteran experiencing homelessness by name, as well as their homeless history and housing needs, in near real time. At the population level, quality data enables communities to track the changing size, composition, and dynamics of their homeless population in order to drive an end to homelessness.

The homelessness response team at Boulder County convened for a learning session on quality, by-name data.

Detroit reduced veteran homelessness by 50%.

Detroit is one of the large cities reducing homelessness as part of Built for Zero.
Detroit is one of the large cities reducing homelessness as part of Built for Zero.

From January 2018 to September 2022, the Detroit community has driven a 50% reduction in veteran homelessness, helping 1,175 veterans exit homelessness.

By creating a policies and procedures manual for addressing homelessness and combining the resource into their communities, Detroit was able to align response strategies and continually reduce their homeless numbers. The city also integrated the HMIS system across regions and made sure that all veterans were included in real-time datasets, which accelerated progress toward functional zero (a measurable end state to homelessness).

“Data has been the thing that has helped us see the picture more clearly than we had before. We can actually see the turns and the twists, and the moves,” said Candace Morgan, the Director of Government Programs at COTS Detroit. “It helps us identify what needs to be done. What’s not working? Where do we need to shift, change? And then once we see that through data, we’re able to move more aggressively with a target, so that we can hit what we’re trying to hit.”

Nevada County, California, is in the last mile of ending veteran homelessness.

Nevada County has been able to reduce veteran homelessness by coordinating across agencies in their homeless response system. The team is also using data to address the specific needs of those they serve. In 2022, the county built a comprehensive real-time, by-name list of all veterans experiencing homelessness in the community. Currently, Nevada County is at the “last mile” of functional zero for veterans, meaning three or fewer individuals are experiencing homelessness per month.

“Community and collaboration is absolutely critical to us getting this work done,” said Nancy Baglietto, the Executive Director of Foothill House of Hospitality. 

Nevada County team
Nevada County is in the last mile of reaching functional zero for veteran homelessness.

Fremont County, Colorado, has achieved functional zero for veteran homelessness.

Fremont, Colorado, functional zero announcement
Fremont County, Colorado, has reached functional zero on veteran homelessness, a milestone that indicates fewer veterans experience homelessness than can be routinely housed in a month.

In February 2021, Fremont County made veteran homelessness rare and brief, under the milestone of functional zero. In order to sustain the milestone, the team strengthened their homeless response system in several important ways, which include forging stronger connections with the VA, increasing access to HUD vouchers, and engaging local landlords.

Abilene, Texas, has reached functional zero for veteran homelessness.

Then they reached the milestone for chronic homelessness, while sustaining for veterans.

In Abilene, agencies focused on homelessness came together to form a command center with the shared aim of ending veteran homelessness. They began meeting twice a month to start making housing plans for every veteran. This regular contact and collaboration across agencies created accountability, and they saw the number of veterans experiencing homelessness dropping as a result of their actions.

With further case conferencing and a commitment to treating each neighbor in their community with dignity and care, Abilene achieved functional zero for chronic homelessness in January 2020. 

“Our major turning point was shifting from focusing on how hard it is to work with a neighbor to what actionable step we can take next to house them, no matter how small or ‘out there’ it is,” Hust said.

The local Built for Zero team in Abilene, TX
Abilene, Texas, has reached functional zero for veteran and chronic homelessness.
Homelessness is solvable


12 communities prove it’s possible to solve veteran homelessness

These communities have reached a standard for making veteran homelessness rare and brief, known as functional zero.

How reaching functional zero for veteran homelessness benefits the whole community

Achieving functional zero benefits entire communities. From the homelessness response system, to health care, criminal legal, and emergency, driving homelessness to zero supports collective wellness and stability.

In Bergen and Lake Counties, data showed that after functional zero, fewer people entered homelessness for the first time, people spent a shorter time homeless on average, and fewer people returned to homelessness after exiting to permanent housing.

In Montgomery County, organizations are leveraging their budgets while in alignment with service partners. Coordinating across systems enabled a shared understanding of goals, values, and metrics. 

Across the country, communities in Built for Zero are proving that homelessness is solvable.

Communities are driving real estate innovations to reduce veteran homelessness.

These efforts include converting temporary shelter into permanent housing and expanding access to affordable housing in partnership with social impact investors.

Meet Raymond, a veteran tenant in Nashville.

Recently, Community Solutions purchased Glastonbury Woods apartments and dedicated half of the 144 units to housing veterans exiting out of homelessness. The property is linked to the local Nashville and Davidson County homeless response system, to ensure that units go to those who need them to escape homelessness.

This is the story of one veteran who lives there.

Raymond, a retired industrial maintenance worker and Air Force veteran, found permanent housing with the help of his VA case manager.

D.C. Property Converts to Permanent Affordable Housing to Help End Veteran Homelessness

The Chesapeake Health Education Program, Inc. is converting temporary housing for veterans in D.C. into permanent housing, allowing them to help even more veterans exit homelessness and quickly achieve housing stability.

As part of the Built for Zero movement, Washington, D.C. is dedicated to reducing veteran homelessness toward functional zero. Since working with Built for Zero, the community has decreased veteran homelessness by nearly 50% and are working toward reaching functional zero in the coming years.

CHEP, Inc. converted their 14 transitional beds into eight permanent units — fully-furnished one-bedroom apartments available at an affordable, below-market rate to veterans exiting homelessness in D.C.
CHEP, Inc. converted their 14 transitional beds into eight permanent units — fully-furnished one-bedroom apartments available at an affordable, below-market rate to veterans exiting homelessness in D.C.

Homeless Resource Locator Connects Users with Service Providers Across the U.S.

The tool responds to a demonstrated need amongst veterans and other people experiencing homelessness in locating their nearest homeless service provider.

Community Solutions and the Rocket Community Fund have launched the Homeless Resource Locator, a searchable, user- and accessibility-focused map developed to help people experiencing homelessness quickly and easily locate contact information for their nearest homeless service provider.

This new tool, which is available on Community Solutions’ website and linked to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ website, utilizes the power of Google Maps to visually display the names and contact information of more than 900 homeless service providers across all 50 states.

Gif of an example of a search on the new Locator
The new Homeless Resource Locator tool makes it easy to search for homeless service providers using Google maps.

📣 Use your voice | Social media toolkit

Built For Zero communities are proving that a future where homelessness is rare and brief is within reach.

This Veterans Day, we’re calling attention to the urgent matter of veteran homelessness. Help us spread the message. 

If you have any questions about this toolkit, please contact

A cartoon woman with blue shirt, green pants, and dark skin and hair holds a notepad and pen to write with.

Social media tips

  • Use the hashtags in your posts to engage with us and others during this week. Consistent hashtags make posts about specific topics easy to find and will help to drive engagement and awareness on Veterans Day. #VeteransDay is the official hashtag. #VeteransDay2022 may also be used.
  • Copy and paste the suggested social media posts or use them as inspiration to craft your own!
  • Pair social media posts with a corresponding visual (graphics below) to create interest and increase shareability.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn and share our content.
  • Tag us if you share Veterans Day content!


Social Copy

Please include the included links in all posts. If you choose to develop your own messaging, please include the hashtag #VeteransDay, #HomelessnessIsSolvable and/or tag @cmtysolutions or @BuiltForZero. Please feel free to tag other partners.


Homelessness is solvable — nowhere has that been demonstrated more clearly than in the progress to end veteran homelessness. Twelve communities across the county have reached functional zero for veterans. #VeteransDay

#HomelessnessIsSolvable. Built For Zero communities are proving it by achieving #FunctionalZero, ensuring that fewer veterans are experiencing homelessness than can be routinely housed — and sustaining this reality over time. #VeteransDay 

🇺🇸 ​​This #VeteransDay, we celebrate the 12 communities that have reached #FunctionalZero for veteran homelessness, making sure those that have served the country have access to safe, secure housing. #HomelessnessIsSolvable


Since 2019, Charlotte, North Carolina, has reduced veteran homelessness by more than 42% as part of Built For Zero.

Hear from Thomas Jacobs, a veteran who helps connect veterans experiencing homelessness with local housing resources through his work at Veterans Bridge Home.

“If you are from a military background, you had a unit of comrades, and it was life and death,” he said. “Some people are missing that camaraderie…We’ve got to provide that network on the civilian side as well.” 

#HomelessnessIsSolvable #VeteransDay

“I’m proud of every veteran that gets housed. Every veteran who’s been in our system for a long time or who’s come back for a second or third time when they get housed. It’s just a great day.” 

Diandra Gourlay from Volunteers of America in Detroit, Michigan, is working to make veteran homelessness rare and brief this #VeteransDay and always. #HomelessnessIsSolvable

“No one should be homeless…. When we think about our veterans and what they’ve sacrificed and given for us and then for them to be homeless, it’s a motivation. It’s part of something that I wake up to do.”

Candace Morgan from COTS in Detroit, Michigan, is working to make veteran homelessness rare and brief this #VeteransDay and always. 🇺🇸 #HomelessnessIsSolvable

🇺🇸 “We can end veteran homelessness and we will end it soon. And then let’s shift our focus now that we’ve got proof of concept, now shift our focus and say we’ll end chronic homelessness in Marin.”

Paul Fordham from Homeward Bound of Marin in California, is working to make veteran homelessness rare and brief this #VeteransDay and always. #HomelessnessIsSolvable

We want to thank and celebrate our Built for Zero communities across the country who are endeavoring each day to make veteran homelessness rare and brief. 

Through this commitment to ending veteran homelessness, Built for Zero leaders work to improve their homeless response systems so they can quickly and stably help veterans secure permanent housing. Reaching functional zero for veteran homelessness would not be possible without our invaluable partnerships with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other government agencies.

We are grateful to all of our Built for Zero community members and leaders, many of whom are veterans themselves, for their dedication to supporting and housing the brave people who have served in our armed forces.