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Meet the Built for Zero Cohorts and Coaches: Last Mile

As new cohorts continue to launch in the coming months, we want to introduce the goals and focus of each intervention and the talented BFZ coaches who lead them.
  |  September 28, 2022

Throughout the 2022-2023 Action Cycle, BFZ community teams have been participating in one or more cohorts designed with specific goals and led by expert coaches. Read on to learn more about the work being done in Last Mile!

What is the Last Mile Cohort about?

The Last Mile cohort is for teams with strong collaboration, commitment, and will to drive reductions toward their functional zero threshold for one population experiencing homelessness by the end of this action cycle. These teams have strong structures in place to support their system in the enhancement of strategy prepared to focus on the Last Mile.

Within Last Mile, the work is centered around strengthening structures and processes in place to sustain progress that scales across population focuses, accelerating positive exits, and preventing new experiences of homelessness. This cohort centers system sustainability throughout the work to equip communities to create a system that truly makes homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring.

Coaching support for Last Mile is provided by Alex Hust, System Improvement Advisor – Results at Scale, and Ian Fletcher, Strategy Lead, Regional Large-Scale Change.

Communities in Last Mile are:

  • Strengthening system structure 
  • Clearing the path to create opportunity for collaborative action and continuous improvement outside of leadership 
  • Identifying process and structures that are essential to sustain system momentum and scale across multiple populations
  • Engaging and investing BIPOC + PLEH at all levels of system improvement  
  • Expanding knowledge and access to system
  • Targeting and prioritizing system barriers utilizing process mapping
    • Increasing positive exits
    • Preventing new experiences of homelessness 

Cohort Launch Date: August 2022

One word that best describes the Last Mile Cohort: Strength

Meet two of the coaches for the Last Mile Cohort!

Alex Hust

Systems Improvement Advisor – Results at Scale

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Headshot of Alex Hust

Q: Can you tell us more about your position in Built for Zero?

A: Prior to joining Community Solutions, I supported and led system enhancement efforts focused on service provision and approach to homelessness in Abilene, Texas. With aims to reach functional zero for veteran and chronic populations, I assisted in strengthening community commitment and support through programming, data validity, systems change, and advocacy. 

During my time serving Abilene, I developed and piloted Permanent Supportive Housing programming for Taylor County (resulting in securing a funded PSH project) and assisted in leading the pilot of Diversion efforts for the state of Texas. I’m a licensed social worker who truly believes in the success of humanity.

Q: What are you most excited for this cohort to do?

A: I’m really looking forward to seeing teams begin to embrace their ability to carry out the work and to really focus on strengthening their systems. We want to empower teams to focus on the beautiful systems they create and how to maintain them.

Our teams encounter so many challenges each day as they engage people in crisis, so we want to be responsive to each community and what they want to carry forward.

This cycle, we are really just striving to be responsive to the here and now and to identify what communities might be facing that could hinder their progress. When we look at strategy and support, we want to ensure these community teams feel empowered and ready to take on challenges ahead.

Ian Fletcher

Strategy Lead, Regional Large-Scale Change

Pronouns: he/him/his

Q: Can you tell us more about your position in Built for Zero? 

A: Before working at Community Solutions, I led systems improvements for coordinated entry and HMIS work at a Continuum of Care, and managed a VA SSVF program in addition to my own consulting firm. I leverage community organizing training to address tough conversations, create accountable partnerships, and orient the work towards justice.

Q: What are you most excited for this cohort to do?

A: I’m excited about the scale of the work we can accomplish in Colorado and nationally. I am based in Colorado myself, so I work directly with three Colorado communities who are in this Last Mile Cohort — Fremont County, Mesa County, and Pueblo. I’ve had the chance to get to know them over time and their unique challenges and opportunities, especially in some of the more rural communities. 

We are learning a lot about the benefits of the state-level interventions, and how we can clear the path for local partners. We have found that elements such as expanding flexible resources and addressing documentation requirements have been critical improvements to the Colorado Last Mile Communities, particularly since the entire state of Colorado is part of Built for Zero’s State Initiatives.

This cohort has allowed me to learn so much from the people doing the work on the ground in our state. We have a strong peer cohort of communities in Colorado who are learning from one another and are eager to share insights and new ways of thinking that are applicable to their neighboring communities across the state.

Do you want to learn about other Built for Zero coaches and cohorts?