Reduce to Functional Zero

This section of the change package is most appropriate for communities focused on reducing to functional zero for specific subpopulations (e.g. veteran and chronic) or for all single adults.

You’ll learn the science of testing improvement ideas in rapid cycles to drive monthly reductions in homelessness.

Build the Will to Drive Reductions

Establish an accountable, multi-agency, multicultural/interracial improvement team

  • No matter if your improvement work is focused on youth, veterans, families, or people experiencing chronic homelessness, the work of ending homelessness is ultimately tied to responding to a legacy of racism. Plan with, not for, the communities homelessness most affects.
  • Use a technology platform like Slack to facilitate communication and coordination between outreach staff and service providers.
  • Identify key partners, through existing or new relationships, to bring to the table for regular input during planning. Include mainstream or non-traditional partners.
  • Perform a stakeholder analysis to determine who needs to be at the table, and how you will get them there.

Engage stakeholders in a shared aim and target date for functional zero

  • Communicate a path toward the goal of ending veteran and chronic homelessness using a conceptual framework to simplify communication of the strategy and progress towards the goal.
  • Publicly recognize, through media or events, public officials who support your effort or commit resources

Create accountability mechanisms for improvement work

  • Bring homeless service organizations together regularly to review shared data to inform an ongoing discussion of strategies for improvement towards collective goals

Run a Coordinated Entry System

Close the Side Doors

  • Convene directors of VA-funded programs to evaluate decision making process for referrals into VA-funded resources and identify opportunities to better target housing and services based on by-name list data; facilitate conversation with a process mapping exercise or a Built for Zero coach! [Veteran]
  • Require that all housing subsidies and units are subject to prioritization policies, thereby closing “side doors” for referrals to permanent supportive housing providers

Implement Coordinated Entry Policies and Procedures

  • Determine which entity within the CoC structure is responsible for the design, implementation and oversight of coordinated entry. Establish roles and responsibilities early in the planning process and write them into the Coordinated Entry System’s Policies and Procedures.
  • Prioritize housing placements to align with community goals.
  • Appoint a planning committee (for CE system design and implementation) that includes CoC lead agency staff, funders, a diverse representation of providers, and community stakeholders, including consumers.
  • As part of your CoC/CE governance structure, identify who is responsible for ensuring all assessment sites/staff are trained.

HMIS/Data Management

Educate providers and community members

Increase Outflow

Run High Quality Case Conferencing Meetings

Decrease length of time from identification to assessment/case management

Decrease length of time from assessment to program enrollment

  • Prioritize veterans who are experiencing homelessness but ineligible for VA healthcare service in homelessness preferences implemented by PHAs, multi-family property owners, CoC programs and ESG Program-funded projects.
    • HUD Notice CPD-16-11: Prioritizing Persons Experiencing Chronic Homelessness and Other Vulnerable Homeless Persons in Permanent Supportive Housing
  • Develop housing navigation staff to provide engagement and navigation support.
  • Start enrollment and participation in housing programs while documentation is being secured, for individuals presenting with a disability who do not yet have documentation. [Note that for HUD-funded projects, one must submit disability paperwork within 45 days of enrollment]
  • Establish a permanent housing plan with timeline for each veteran immediately after intake; revisit housing plan throughout their stay and at each time clinical or other services are received.
  • Hire housing locators with experience in real estate to leverage their knowledge of the housing market and understanding of the landlord perspective.
  • Explore collaboration with SSVF staff to provide navigation and housing location services for VASH clients. [Veteran]
  • Create streamlined process with local Social Security office or comparable entity to obtain income verification or other necessary documents.

Decrease length of time from enrollment to permanent unit identification

Increase the number of engaged landlords with available units

Decrease the Length of Time from permanent unit identified to move-in

  • Work with Public Housing Authority to pre-inspect units, or train housing agency staff to conduct inspections, to shorten the length of time in this part of the housing process.

Decrease Inflow

Analyze individuals entering homeless system to identify focus areas

  • Conduct focus groups or client interviews to identify problems in the existing referral process and inform development of a uniform and coordinated referral process.
  • Develop an “at-risk policy” to identify those most at risk of becoming chronically homeless.
  • To identify individuals at risk of becoming chronically homeless, sort list by those who meet disability criteria but are short of the requirement for length of time; monitor this data to target early interventions and reduce chronic homelessness
  • Work with HMIS vendor to create reports that further automate tracking Chronic Homeless status
  • Implement a FUSE initiative to target the highest utilizers of jails, hospitals, healthcare, emergency shelters, and other systems.

Prevent newly identified individuals from entering homeless services

Integrate System-Wide Diversion

Evaluate and Address Resource Gaps and Systemic Barriers

Inventory housing assets

  • Map housing process with the Public Housing Authority and local housing providers to determine where bottlenecks occur and improvements can be made

Identify Scope of System and Housing Needs

  • Ensure that all beds dedicated for chronically homeless are currently filled by individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and that all referrals to these beds exclusively come through the CES.
  • Create process map of coordinated entry system.
  • Select, collect, and analyze key metrics for each step of system (measurement tree)

Perform a Client-Level Needs Analysis

  • Identify common attributes of clients not quickly exiting to permanent housing; tailor strategies to households who share these attributes.

Perform gap analysis to compare the assets to need

  • Use a gap analysis tool to understand the gaps in housing resources against the projected need; use this data to optimize resources and quantify and advocate for needed resources

Advocate for resources needed to address the gap

Increase flexibility of program rules

  • Work creatively within the rules and regulations related to housing resources in support of securing permanent housing for those experiencing severe mental illness
  • Infuse pet-friendly practices throughout the homeless services system so pet ownership is one less barrier a household faces in getting back into housing.

Optimize VA Transitional Housing

  • Meet with GPD agency-level leadership to hear their concerns about changing program models or re-purposing VA Transitional Housing funding
  • Project long-term number of GPD beds and service models needed using by-name list data; then review portfolio of GPD beds currently in the community and create plan to convert beds to other models.

Develop more housing opportunities

  • Create and/or maintain quality supportive housing for the community’s most vulnerable residents.
  • Shared housing increases the number of housing opportunities per single unit, and can help some households with housing affordability and companionship. If a person is willing to have a roommate, this option is worth exploring.

Implement A Housing First Approach System-Wide

  • Adopt Housing First principles system-wide.
  • Provide regular, shared trainings on the Housing First approach for providers and community alike; put forward strategies that inform the development of system-wide screening criteria that are capable of serving all clients, regardless of barriers.
  • Bring providers together to complete a Housing First self-assessment; the assessment identifies areas for improvement and creates an opportunity for providers to redesign their existing programs or reallocate resources into a new program built on the Housing First model.