Category Archives: Best Practices

From the Zero 2016 Campaign: Leadership Training, Webinars, and Online Resources

Please see the message below from the Zero 2016 campaign. If you are part of Zero 2016 work in Hampden County and are interested in attending the Leadership Academy, please send an email to Gerry McCafferty.  Also see the notice below on upcoming webinars related to ending veteran homelessness, and online Landlord Initiative Resources.

As we’ve seen time after time through both the 100,000 Homes Campaign and Zero: 2016, it takes a team of dedicated individuals, willing to do whatever it takes, to change the status quo and create a system built for zero. The core of this team, the beating heart and soul, is a strong leader, boldly spearheading the charge, supporting the team and fearlessly leading the way through struggles, doubt and uncertainty with an unwavering commitment to reach the goal.

In an effort to support this type of leadership in each of the Zero: 2016 communities across the country, Zero: 2016 is sponsoring one leader from each community to join us in West Virginia from October 20-23 for the OrgCode Leadership Academy. This gathering will be an opportunity to share, learn, grow, network, and strengthen our community of leaders committed to our shared mission of ending homelessness.

In an effort to support this type of leadership in each of the Zero: 2016 communities across the country, Zero: 2016 is sponsoring one leader from each community to join us in West Virginia from October 20-23 for the OrgCode Leadership Academy. This gathering will be an opportunity to share, learn, grow, network, and strengthen our community of leaders committed to our shared mission of ending homelessness.

We’re also inviting all participants from Zero: 2016 communities to stick around for an extra day to join us for the Zero: 2016 Strategic Planning Session on Friday, October 23. We’ll be focusing on leveraging learnings from the Leadership Academy to accelerate the progress and impact of the movement and to begin shaping our strategy into 2016.


Webinars to Support You in Ending Veteran Homelessness As part of our effort to support each of you in ending homelessness among veterans, Zero: 2016 is offering three webinars to highlight community bright spots and offer concrete tools and tips to help replicate efforts that have proven successful. Details for these trainings are below, and calendar invites will be sent out soon. We hope you’ll join us!

By-Name List: Recommendations for Practice Tuesday, October 13: 3pm EST/12pm PST A By-Name List is a critical tool to reach functional zero and understand who in your community is experiencing homelessness at any given time. A strong By-Name List can be used to plan estimations of future rates of homelessness, including inflow and refining performance targets. Please join us to learn what’s working in Zero: 2016 communities, including effective outreach strategies, case conferencing, maintaining an updated list, tracking outcomes and measuring process effectiveness. Join the Webinar Here Event Password: zero2016

Landlord Engagement: Recruitment by Mayors Wednesday, October 14: 3pm EST/12pm PST In July, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent a letter to landlords requesting urgent assistance in placing veterans in their units. About 150 landlords responded, resulting in hundreds of new units for veterans experiencing homelessness. Learn about the Chicago experience as well as lessons learned by other communities in which Mayors have engaged in landlord recruitment efforts. Join the Webinar Here Event Password: zero2016

Leadership Structure Friday, October 16: 12pm EST/9am PST Leadership is critical in developing a sense of urgency to end homelessness locally, providing timely and strategic decision-making and bringing key stakeholders to the table to achieve a common goal. This webinar is focused on structures that drive strategies and create urgency to accelerate housing placement outcomes and reach shared community goals. Join the Webinar Here Event Password: zero2016


Tip of the Week: Zero: 2016 Landlord Initiative Resources! One of the most common and pressing challenges for communities trying to get to zero is finding a landlord willing to rent to homeless families and individuals. As a result, Zero: 2016 and 25 Cities launched a Landlord Initiative to assist communities in recruiting, engaging and celebrating landlords who are willing to commit units to help end veteran homelessness. The Landlord Initiative includes:

  1. A Series of webinars focusing on effective practices – (1) Building local infrastructure; (2) Sharing effective outreach strategies for Mayor-led events and outreach to small, medium, and large property management companies, and (3) Sharing effective outreach strategies with outreach to rental associations, faith, and civic communities
  2. A national landing page, hosted by Zillow, where landlords can be connected with local coordinators in their community
  3. An online Community Toolkit with resources and community examples

Learn more about the Landlord Initiative and how it can make an impact in your community here, in the fourth part of our “What Why Why” series, created by our partners at CSH.

Springfield/Hampden CoC: Seeking Your Input on Performance Goals

The Springfield/Hampden County CoC Performance and Outcomes Committee has been working very hard the last two months to create performance goals for our CoC. Over a number of meetings, the committee has thought about the individual program goals that will lead to overall system success, has reviewed data on current performance, and has considered appropriate goals for programs to strive for.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.  We’d like feedback on the draft goals, from the whole community, but especially from the programs that serve homeless people and will be measured.

Click to see CoC Draft Performance Goals for Public Comment.

Please provide comments to Gerry McCafferty (via email–click link to open email address) by September 18, 2015.

The Committee will review comments, make any final edits, and then recommend that the CoC Board of Directors adopt the goals at the Sept. 25, 2015 Board meeting.

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