Built for Zero Fall 2023 Learning Session – Washington, D.C.

September 20–22, 2023

Marriott Marquis
901 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

Check out our detailed agenda or Frequently Asked Questions for more information. If you need more help, email us at bfzlearningsession@community.solutions.

NEW: Social Media Toolkit

Share your excitement about attending the Learning Session by letting everyone know on your social feeds! Download the social media toolkit here, which includes links, images, sample post copy, and instructions how to showcase your community’s participation in this year’s Learning Session!


Wednesday, September 20

6 – 8 pm

Join us for the kick-off plenary of the Learning Session. This will be a time to connect with others in the Built for Zero network and celebrate being together. Conference registration will also be available at this time. 

Hors d’oeuvres will be served. 

Mezzanine Foyer

Thursday, September 21 

8 – 9 am

Breakfast & Registration

 (please arrive by 8:45 to leave time to register & grab breakfast!)

Salon 5/6 & Foyer

Investments Affinity Breakfasts  

Meet other System Leaders of all stripes to chat about how you developed your skills, how we can continue to grow as leaders, and how to cultivate the next generation of leaders within the sector.

INVITE ONLY: Arlington County, Bakersfield/Kern County, Central Virginia, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Charlottesville, Chattanooga/Southeast Tennessee, Colorado BoS Pueblo, Colorado BoS Roaring Fork, Colorado BoS Southwest Region, Colorado BoS Western Colorado, Detroit, D.C., Honolulu, Metro Denver, Minneapolis/Hennepin County, Montgomery County, Nevada County, Northern Colorado, Omaha/Council Bluffs, Pikes Peak, Rockford, Santa Fe City, Spokane, State of Colorado, Texas BoS Abilene, Thurston County 


Did your community receive Flex Funds or a Catalytic Investment from Community Solutions this year? Join other communities to share start-up stories, lessons learned, and get resources and sample policies to support your community investment.

INVITE ONLY: Burlington/Chittenden, Central Virginia. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Colorado BoS Western Colorado, Detroit, D.C., Greater Hartford, Gulfport/Gulf Coast, Jacksonville-Duval, Metro Denver, Middlesex County, Minneapolis/Hennepin, Nashville/Davidson County, Nevada County, Northern Colorado, Placer County, Rockford, Sacramento, Saint Johns County, Texas BoS Abilene, Washoe County 


9 – 10:30 am

Leading with Learning: What’s on the roadmap to functional zero? 

We’ll immediately roll up our sleeves on Thursday for hands-on learning with the Built for Zero team presenting learnings from across the network and a framework outlining the path to ending homelessness. 

Community teams will have opportunities to interact with findings and engage with how elements of this framework can become a part of your work to reach and sustain functional zero.

Salon 5/6

10:30 – 10:45 am


10:45 – 12 pm

Cohort Breakouts: Team Planning Time

Break out with your peer learning cohorts and have time to reassess your goals, integrating the learning from the morning and creating work plans as a team. 

This session will focus on: 

Closing encampments using a direct to housing model that meets all constitutional requirements and helps individuals immediately return to tenant-based housing. 

Lining up access to existing rehousing subsidies and services as well as flexible funds to hold units, incentivize landlords and pay for move-in kits or have access to resources to create these rehousing interventions for this initiative. 

Working with local government jurisdictions as a primary partner to organize municipal services to resolve and maintain closure of encampments post-rehousing activities.

Salon 4

Path to Zero sessions will focus on setting an aim, goals, milestones, and developing a work plan. Participants will have the opportunity to spend extended time with their team discussing big challenges and making plans to make progress.

Salon 5/6

The Last Mile sessions will focus on developing and improving non traditional partnerships in reaching functional zero.  Participants will hear from some non-traditional partners, identify new partners to help them in their work and learn how partnerships can assist with reaching and sustaining functional zero. 

Salon 1

Large City Last Mile teams will come together to celebrate and learn from one another. Teams will participate in problem solving activities, have time to connect with their peer communities as well as time to workplan together with their community with support from data and visualization BFZ staff.

Salon 2

Zero for All teams will have an opportunity to assess and revise their current community workplans to end homelessness, connect with their peers to problem solve, and make any needed adjustments in the milestones to achieve over the next year. Teams will also come away with a stronger understanding of Built for Zero supports post learning session. Finally, teams will develop deeper connectedness with their community peers within the cohort.

Salon 3

12 – 12:45 pm


(buffet style)

Salon 5/6

(invite only: District of Columbia, Detroit, Twin Cities, Jacksonville, Minneapolis,
Charlotte/Mecklenberg County, Arlington, Gulf Coast, Montgomery County, Rockford, Abilene, CO BoS Fremont) 


12:45 – 1:15 pm

During our time together, we’ll set the stage to help you reflect on the areas of improvement in your community by outlining the key components of an effective system for ongoing learning that brings data and decision making together for action. Use this simple yet powerful framing to build and sustain the infrastructure and culture of improvement at every phase of your journey!

Salon 5/6

1:15 – 1:25 pm


1:25 – 2:15 pm

Topical Breakouts 

During this hour, each breakout listed will repeat twice, with a ten minute break in between. Choose breakouts that will help you add ideas & new routes on your community’s journey to zero! You should have already registered for your two chosen breakouts. Please only attend the breakouts session that you registered, as there is limited space in each room.

What does Meaningful Engagement of People With Lived Experience mean?

Communities will get in-depth, first-hand knowledge from those with lived experience of what it means to meaningfully engage with them. BFZ will highlight/present their co-designed definition with BFZ Housing Equity Strategist, Sacramento Steps Forward, and based off of USICH and HUD guidelines – with real world and first-hand accounts of what it is and what it is not. Participants will leave with knowledge of the definition and gain clarity on what it looks like in real world practice. 

Salon 1

This breakout session will review our emerging ideas on governance structures, the key elements and our model to leverage place-based backbones for delivering Built for Zero locally across a variety of complex geographies. Designed for senior leaders in homeless systems, we’ll also solicit input from communities on where they are most in need of support re: governance.

Salon 2

Housing — and the lack of access to it — has long been recognized as a critical social determinant of health. The outstanding question for health care leaders is not whether health systems have a role to play, but how they can have the most transformative impact in helping communities address homelessness. This session will share the learnings from the three-year Healthcare x Homelessness Pilot, led by Community Solutions and Institute of Healthcare Improvement, partnering with leaders from local homeless response and several major health systems in five communities across the U.S., including Bakersfield and Sacramento, CA; Anchorage, AK; Washington County, OR; and Chattanooga, TN. It will cover topics such as screening for patients in need of housing services, preventing discharge into homelessness, data sharing, and improving coordination of health and housing services with cross-sector case conferencing.

Salon 3

The Coordinated Homelessness Prevention breakout will engage participants around some of the priorities and learnings coming out of the Housing Stabilization Learning Cohort to support communities towards initiating and advancing prevention related activity.

Salon 4

You’ve probably noticed that the Veterans we serve are getting older. Much older! And as they age, they’re also facing significant and chronic health problems. You’ve also probably noticed that VA’s homeless programs and services were likely designed to serve Veterans in their 40s and 50s but not Veterans in their 70s and 80s. What on earth are we doing about it?!? 

To find out the answer to that question, join us to learn more about how VA is updating the HUD-VASH program to better support aging and disabled Veterans.

Salon 7

Join us for a session led by Community Solutions’ communications and policy experts, where you’ll be equipped with practical tools and examples of deploying advocacy and communications to support your local efforts. Learn how to craft compelling communication strategies, engage with your candidates about their commitment to ending homelessness, and mobilize your community. Whether you’re a seasoned communications/advocacy pro or a multitasking local leader, this breakout session is meant to be a practical and informative session to create more enabling conditions for reductions and functional zero.

Salon 9

Go deeper on themes from the Creating a Community Wide System for Learning & Improvement plenary by hearing about Gulf Coast’s approach to enabling effective feedback loops that help drive continual learning and system improvement. We hope that you are able to take away key strategies that bring data and decision making together for action to test in your community!

Salon 10

2:15 – 2:30 pm


2:30 – 3:45 pm

Cohort Breakouts: Team Planning Time

Same as morning

3:45 – 4 pm 


4 – 5 pm

Celebrate the work you’ve accomplished since we last gathered, including communities who have reached milestones like quality data and functional zero. We’re also excited to hear from our Keynote Speaker, Vu Le, who will speak to facilitating a culture of appreciation, joy and inclusion into systems change.

Salon 5/6

5:15 – 7 pm

Always optional, but join us for a Built for Zero tradition and dinner. 

Salon 5/6

Friday, September 22 

8 – 9 am


Want a chance to chat with Data Leads in other communities in a more informal setting to ask them:  how do they manage their by-name data? How do they use data in their work? How do they stay on top of by- name data quality? This is your chance!

Salon 1

Developing Meaningful Engagement of Lived Experience Advocates

An introductory meeting for invited communities to learn more about the Developing Meaningful Engagement of LIved Experience Advocates Learning Lab.  Communities will be introduced to the goal of the lab, topics/modules to be presented during the learning lab, what communities will gain during their time in the learning lab, and connect with fellow communities engaged and interested in advancing their work around meaningful engagement and integration of people with lived experience and Built for Zero’s Housing Equity Strategists. 

INVITE ONLY: Charlotte, Charlottesville, Rockford, Metro Denver, Hartford, South Central Indiana.

Salon 2

9 – 9:30 am

Opening Plenary

Salon 5/6

9:30 – 9:45 am


9:45 – 11:15 am

Cohort Breakouts: Team Planning Time

Same as previous day

11:15 – 11:30 am


11:30 – 12:30 pm 

Closing Plenary

Salon 5/6

Lunches to-go


Frequently Asked Questions

All activities will be at the Marriott Marquis, 901 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. 

There will be a kickoff program and reception on Wednesday, September 20 at 5 p.m. We recommend teams arrive by Wednesday afternoon/evening. Learning Session programming will conclude by 1 p.m. on Friday, September 22, and we encourage teams to book travel out of Washington, D.C., on Friday afternoon.

If you will be flying into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), you can take the Yellow line on the D.C. Metro to Mt. Vernon Square Station. You’ll then need to walk for 0.3 miles to reach the hotel. 

If you will be flying into Dulles International Airport (IAD), you can take the Silver line on the D.C. Metro to the Metro Center station and walk 0.5 miles to reach the hotel.

The Marriott Marquis has valet parking available at these rates:

0 – 3 Hours                        $35.00
3 – 6 Hours                        $45.00
6 – 12 Hours                      $55.00
12 – 24 Hours                    $65.00
Overnight                           $65.00
Oversized Vehicle Fee    +$10.00

Other parking options nearby include:

1010 10th St., NW, Washington, DC 20001
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7:00am – 7:00pm
Distance from Hotel: .2 miles

901 9th St., NW, Washington, DC 20001
Hours of Operation: 24 Hours, Daily
Distance from Hotel: .2 miles
Rates: Up to 2 Hours – $18
2 – 3 Hours – $25
Max – $35

City Center Garage
870 9th St., NW, Washington, DC 20001
Hours of Operation: 24 Hours, Daily
Distance from Hotel: .3 miles
Rates: Up to 1 Hour – $10
1 – 2 Hours – $14
All Day: $19
Overnight: $27

Exterior Lot: Corner of 10th and L Streets, NW, Washington, DC 20001
Hours of Operation: 24 Hours, Daily
Distance from Hotel: .1 mile
Rates: $25 per day

We also recommend using SpotHero to find available spaces around the area. 

If you would like to cancel or modify the registrants for your community, please email bfzlearningsession@community.solutions

Please contact the hotel directly to change your reservation. You will receive a full refund if you cancel 72 hours before your arrival. After 72 hours, you will be charged for a one-night room rate and tax.

Registration for the Learning Session is now closed.

Yes! As of August 4, the Fall Learning Session is now officially a HUD-approved conference. This means that project administrative funds under the Continuum of Care and Emergency Solutions Grants Programs may be used to attend. If needed, a PDF is available here for download here for documentation purposes.

Yes, each community can register up to 12 people to attend. 

Don’t come alone! We recommend sending at least three participants. We’ll be doing a lot of assessing, planning, and decision-making. This will be easier and more fun with at least three people in conversation.

We recommend prioritizing your Team Lead and Data Lead. For the additional slots, we recommend including other members from your core improvement team. 

A detailed agenda will be released in late July, which may be helpful in confirming and finalizing your registrant list. If you have questions about who to prioritize before then, please reach out to your coach or email bfzlearningsession@community.solutions to discuss. 

Keep the event objectives listed above in mind as you prioritize who will attend this Learning Session, and consider inviting those who would be most able to provide feedback from across your system during these conversations, particularly people with lived experience of homelessness.

To ensure your team has an exceptional Learning Session experience!

Your team will have the best possible experience if you reserve a room on-site at the official conference hotel, the Marriott Marquis on Massachusetts Ave in Washington, D.C. Staying on-site will give your team more time to network, easily join sessions, and soak up knowledge from peers across the Built for Zero Network. 

We have reserved a hotel block that locked in the lowest possible price at this hotel. The rooms in the hotel block are first come, first served. Last year they sold out very quickly, and Built for Zero is not able to support with hotel accommodations once this block is full. Reserve your rooms in our exclusive room block now to secure a competitive rate and enjoy the perfect blend of comfort and convenience! 

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer communities travel stipends this year. As always, the conference is completely free and all meals will be provided for participants.

Email bfzlearningsession@community.solutions with any additional questions.