Category Archives: Best Practices

News from the national Zero 2016 campaign

The following is a report on the national effort. In the diagram, Hampden County is among the 12 green communities on the veteran chart (within 10% of meeting goals) and among the blue on the chronic chart (meeting or exceeding goals).  Let’s go Hampden CoC!


Zero: 2016 Weekly Update

As we approach the final four months of the year, we’re doubling down on our efforts to help you do whatever it takes to end veteran and chronic homelessness by the end of 2016. Part of this push centers around ensuring that each and every community involved with the movement is fully invested in the goal and understands what it means to reach functional zero.

To that end, we’ll be hosting an All Hands on Deck Call on Thursday, September 10 to present our path forward, review the definition of functional zero, and answer any questions you may have. You’ll be receiving a calendar invite more more details and RSVP information soon, but in the meantime, please save the date for the Zero: 2016 All Hands on Deck call on Thursday, September 10 at 2pm ET/11am PT.

Tip of the Week: Three Tricks to Enhance Your By-Name List

Throughout the month of August, Zero: 2016 is working with 19 communities to better understand how a by-name list is defined and identify best practices that can be used to create and sustain a list that accurately reflects the number of people experiencing homelessness at any given time in your community. We will be packaging and sharing our learning with all communities in the near future, but in the meantime, here a few highlights of what we’ve learned:

  1. Coordinating outreach among the outreach providers in your community is key to maintaining a dynamic list. Outreach can be used to build your by-name list and to work your list.
  2. Training outreach workers to serve as housing navigators will increase efficiency of housing placement and coordination of services.
  3. Case conferencing and access to the list is critical to keeping it updated, reducing duplication, and ensuring accountability to each individual on your list.

Stay tuned for additional guidance!

Increasing Housing Placements of Homeless Veterans

In a recent SNAPS in Focus post, HUD’s Ann Oliva has communicated strategies about using VASH to house homeless veterans–and includes a shout-out to Massachusetts’ Tenancy Preservation Program, The entire post is cut and pasted below:

For the last few years, you have heard me talk about Housing First as a best practice approach for permanent housing and a key strategy for meeting the goals of Opening Doors. In 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) made Housing First the official policy of the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. A community-wide Housing First approach can ensure that veterans experiencing homelessness move into permanent housing as quickly as possible and receive the right level of supportive services, regardless of their substance use or criminal history, poor credit, or other challenges.

Assisting veterans to find units to rent with these subsidies is particularly difficult in tight housing markets, where there is little access to affordable housing, employment opportunities, and other essential supports. Engaging landlords, property managers, developers, and real estate professionals is essential. Having a diverse and large number of housing partners is key to the success of HUD-VASH and other programs using Housing First approaches, especially when affordable housing options are limited. These partnerships reduce delays in housing placement, decrease time spent homeless, and increase housing choice for veterans. Landlords can also benefit through more stable rental income, reduced vacancy rates due to quick connections with renters as soon as units become available, and access to staff who can address any issues.

One successful strategy for developing housing partners is finding real estate professionals to be your champions and partners in this effort. For example, theAtlanta Real Estate Collaborative (AREC) is a group of private individuals with extensive real estate experience who have united to share their professional expertise in housing to improve local efforts to end homelessness in Atlanta. Their Open Doors initiative is centered on two key elements: landlord engagement and using technology to increase housing placement. Open Doors develops relationships with property owners and managers to expand the inventory of available units for persons experiencing homelessness. Open Doors also partnered with key technology partners to build a live feed of information showing daily updates of unit availability, allowing service providers to spend less time gathering information and more time identifying housing options for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Continuums of Care (CoCs), homeless service providers, and philanthropic organizations can play a critical role in improving utilization of HUD-VASH byhelping reduce the administrative burden on Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) that administer these vouchers. Specifically, CoCs and homeless service providers can assist PHAs with applications and briefings, housing navigation, and inspections. PHAs can also get help with these costs by requesting Extraordinary Administrative Fees (EAF) as discussed in a letter from HUD to PHAs highlighting strategies to improve HUD-VASH voucher utilization. Philanthropy can also play a role by funding activities such as creating a rent mitigation fund that landlords can draw upon to reduce risk or by helping fund the cost of a landlord recruitment campaign.

Communities across the country are making tremendous progress, demonstrating that achieving this goal is very possible. We know the strategies that work – however implementing these strategies may look very different in different places. To help communities reach this goal, CoCs may request technical assistance through Vets@Home. Many communities are already receiving technical assistance related to ending veteran homelessness through other HUD or VA initiatives. Vets@Home is not a new initiative; instead it is intended to expand upon the efforts already happening and support more communities with reaching this goal.

HUD, USICH, and the VA are working on developing additional tools and resources to help communities increase housing placements of homeless veterans. Below is a list of resources currently available (including those referenced in this message):

As always, thank you for your commitment and hard work.

Ann Oliva
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs

Network meeting with US ICH and Federal agency leader to discuss family homelessness

The Network enjoyed the privilege of meeting in Boston yesterday with Acting Assistant Secretary Mark Greenberg of the federal Administration for Children and Families and Bob Pulster, regional director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness.  We were joined by 5 other leading providers of family services across the state, including our Western region’s Center for Human Development, Father Bill’s and MainSpring of Brockton, Community Teamwork of Lowell, and Children’s Services and Project Hope, both of Roxbury.

The agenda was to share our successes and challenges in responding to family homelessness and discuss recommendations for future federal partnership.

The Network’s powerpoint presentation can be found here and CHD’s presentation can be found here.

We look forward to continuing this dialogue.

Webinar Invite: Landlord Recruitment/Engagement – Best Practices [Zero 2016]

As part of Zero 2016, Community Solutions is offering a webinar series on best practices for recruiting and engaging landlords. With our widespread use of rapid rehousing and tenant-based permanenent supportive housing models, we need to be sure that we are engaging and supporting our landlord partners. The webinars will present best practices from communities with successful models.

Please feel free to join one or more of the calls:

Module 1: Building Local Infrastructure (a.k.a. Building the Runway)

Module 2: Sharing Effective Outreach Strategies 1 (Mayor-Led Events, Outreach to Large, Medium, Small Companies)

Module 3: Sharing Effective Outreach Strategies 2 (Outreach to Apartment Rental Associations, Faith Communities, Civic Organizations, Real Estate Agents, Working with a local PHA)


  • Phone Number: 646-661-2933
  • Meeting Room Code: 1413051
  • Participant Access Code provided in a pop-up window when you enter the virtual room