The national 100,000 Homes Campaign reached its goal one month ahead of schedule, housing 101,628 people as of June 30. Locally, we housed 434 people (including 107 veterans) in under two years. This was more the double our original goal of 200!
What’s next? The Zero:2016 Campaign to end homelessness for veterans and chronically homeless individuals by December 31, 2016.
Communities – specifically, HUD COCs – must apply to join Zero:2016, and the KC/Jackson COC is currently considering whether and how to apply. I’ll be speaking at the COC’s meeting tomorrow to provide background information and answer questions about the campaign.
If we apply and are accepted, in many ways we’ll continue what we’ve been doing for 100,000 Homes. We’ll survey people experiencing homelessness with the VI-SPDAT assessment, use those assessment results to guide our use of our permanent housing and rapid re-housing resources, work together in housing and outreach teams to offer our homeless neighbors appropriate housing options, help move them into housing (the most important step!), and support them according to their assessed needs.
In another way, however, Zero:2016 would be a game-changer in Kansas City. The local 100,000 Homes campaign has been a voluntary coalition of the enthusiastic. Zero:2016 would bring the institutional resources of the COC, the local Veterans Affairs office, and the public housing authority into the campaign. Decisions regarding participation in the process I described in the previous paragraph might well have higher stakes.
More and more in the social services world, funding is shifting to coordinated, data-driven methods that have been demonstrated to work. Zero:2016 is at the leading edge of this sea change, but whether or not we join the campaign locally I expect that in a few years our work will look like what the campaign is advocating for. I say let’s make the change now, for the sake of the people we serve. Ending homelessness, here we come!