Built for Zero is a national initiative organized by New York-based nonprofit Community Solutions with 70 communities collectively housing more than 60,000 homeless Americans since January 2015.
Tulsa is one of these 70 participating communities. Through Built for Zero, formerly known as Zero: 2016, Community Solutions is supporting participating cities such as Tulsa in optimizing local resources, tracking progress against monthly housing goals and accelerating the spread of proven strategies.
6,500 homeless individuals flow through Tulsa shelters annually
13% of Tulsans currently without a home have dedicated their service to our country
8% of Tulsa’s current homeless are consistently without a home
In December of 2014, CSC-based Tulsa Continuum of Care, known as A Way Home For Tulsa (AWHT), was selected through a competitive, national application process as one of the participants in a nationwide campaign to end veteran homelessness in 2015 and chronic homelessness in 2016 called Zero:2016. Other local organizations that lead Tulsa’s involvement in this campaign are the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Tulsa Housing Authority.
On January 20th, 2016, AWHT held a press conference to announce the successful conclusion of its first year under the Zero:2016 campaign to house veterans and the chronically homeless. One year ago, a goal of housing 289 veterans by the end of December, 2015 was set by Tulsa’s AWH4T. Monthly reports tracked results throughout the year and “action camps” in Denver and Tulsa were held to keep the focus on those goals and to devise and refine new ways of accomplishing them. At the press conference, officials from Tulsa County, supporting funders and active participants in the effort announced that Tulsa had, in fact, exceeded its initial goal and housed 298 veterans in 2015, along with another 78 chronically, or long-term, homeless individuals.
Now in October 2016, Zero:2016 has become Built for Zero, an extension of the campaign indicating the kind of community we want to be and the sustainable system we are building together. CSC and the Tulsa community will continue to participate in this movement, working with Community Solutions as part of a national network to make sure every person in Tulsa has a safe, stable and supportive home.
The initial stages of the Zero:2016, now called Built for Zero, campaign focused on local agencies and organizations working closely to streamline inter-agency coordination with local housing systems to ensure that all people experiencing homelessness are assessed and matched to available housing through a consistent, coordinated and evidence-informed process.
Local Tulsa-based partners such as the Mayor’s office, which recently signed on to the Mayors’ Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, the Veterans Administration, the local HUD office and the BRRX4Vets program operated by CSC will use community-wide data to develop clear targets for the total number of individuals that need to be housed each month in order to end veteran and chronic homelessness in Tulsa and maintain the progress that has been achieved to date.
Take-down targets and placement rates have been established for Tulsa and every other community that participates in the campaign. With the help of a Gap Analysis Tool and a Housing Placement Tracker provided by Community Solutions to facilitate this process, Tulsa’s CoC is optimistic that the goals of this campaign are attainable.