Fremont County, Colorado Becomes 12th Community in US to Achieve Zero Veteran Homelessness – by Brooke Gilmore
On Thursday, May 27, Governor Polis and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) announced that the national initiative known as Built for Zero certified Fremont County, Colo., As the 12th community in the country to put end to homelessness for veterans.
“Ensuring that those who have worked in the service of this country have access to safe and secure housing is one of the most important things we can do, and I am happy to see Fremont [County] paving the way for what we hope will become the new normal in our state, ”Governor Jared Polis said. “We owe it to our veterans to ensure that they too can build back stronger with the rest of Colorado.”
“Zero Functionality for Veteran Homelessness” means that a community knows every veteran who experiences homelessness by name. It also means that this community has demonstrated its ability to ensure that fewer veterans experience homelessness than can be accommodated on a regular basis.
Built for Zero is a national initiative of 80 cities and counties committed to measurably ending homelessness one population at a time, led by the nonprofit Community Solutions.
A team of seven community partners from Fremont County worked with Community Solutions, the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and various government agencies and nonprofit partners to transform their local homeless response system and achieve functional zero. . The group is now focused on maintaining this status and expanding the results.
Fremont County’s use of real-time, person-specific data to coordinate resources and connect people in crisis with the supports they need to get out of homelessness quickly is from the Making Homelessness History manual. This approach is at the heart of the efforts led by DOLA.
The Colorado Office of Homeless Initiatives (OHI) was designed in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Human Services and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing to create a future where every Coloradan has a safe, stable and affordable place to live.
An event commemorating the Functional Zero landmark took place on May 27 at the Mountain View Community Church in Cañon City, where DOLA Executive Director Rick M. Garcia made the announcement.
“This milestone brings Colorado closer to a future where homelessness is rare and brief, and no one is left behind,” Garcia said. “DOLA is proud to work with our state agency and federal partners, the Fremont County Community Team and our Built for Zero: Colorado partners, including Kaiser Permanente, Community Solutions and the Colorado Health Foundation, to support and maintain the success of Fremont County. We hope this achievement inspires other communities to take a similar approach and build on these efforts for the benefit of all those experiencing chronic homelessness.