Community Engagement

The Journey to Functional Zero

Approaching the milestone to ending veteran homelessness

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Pictured are members of Wayfair's Social Impact team with Nevada County, California, leaders at Community Solutions’ spring 2022 Built for Zero Learning Session. Photo credit: Isavel Gonzalez.

Everyone deserves a place to call home, and at Wayfair, we’re partnering with Community Solutions to help make this possible. Through their Built For Zero movement, Community Solutions and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness supports counties and cities across the U.S. and Canada to use data to radically change how communities can work to end homelessness.

The Built For Zero movement is made up of more than 100 cities and counties that have committed to measurably and equitably ending homelessness. Using data, these communities have changed how local homeless response systems work and the impact they can achieve. The goal is to achieve a milestone known as functional zero — an ongoing state where homelessness is continuously rare, brief and non-recurring for an entire population.

Nevada County, California is a community that is on track to end veteran homelessness this year. Starting in June 2021, leaders in Nevada County created a system that allowed them to identify every veteran experiencing homelessness by name and need in their community, in real time. It was through this collective approach that brought nonprofits together in the area to collaborate and look at their list of every veteran experiencing homelessness, evaluate their list of available resources, and connect each veteran with the services and support they need to exit homelessness.

“The primary way our work has changed since we joined Built for Zero is in the collection of data and how we utilize our coordinated entry system more effectively,” said Brendan Phillips, Nevada County Housing Resource Manager. “We translate that into a very human-centered case conferencing practice that happens weekly, that brings all of our providers together to discuss how we are going to move people from homelessness into housing. It is laser-focused on proactive thinking around ending people's homelessness.”

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Nevada County is in the Last Mile for Ending Veteran Homelessness

As of March 2022, there were 21 veterans experiencing homelessness in Nevada County. The community has also been tracking and addressing inflow to continue driving reductions in veteran homelessness and is hoping to achieve their goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of this year.

“Community Solutions shares our vision and approach to impactful change by leveraging a data-driven model and thoughtful collaboration to bring people and communities together to achieve positive outcomes,” shared Todd Bowers, Wayfair’s global head of Corporate Social Impact. “We are proud to support their work, especially when it culminates in exciting moments like this in the journey to end homelessness. This is a landmark moment for Nevada County that shows their process is working to help everyone, everywhere find their home.”

Community Solutions is a nonprofit committed to creating a lasting end to homelessness that leaves no one behind. It leads Built for Zero, a movement of more than 100 communities in the United States working to measurably and equitably end homelessness. Using a data-driven methodology, these communities have changed how local systems work and the impact they can achieve. To date, 14 communities have reached a milestone known as functional zero, a milestone for ending homelessness for a population.

Learn more about Wayfair’s partnership with Community Solutions.