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Posted on: July 15, 2021

Nevada County aims to end veteran homelessness by Veteran’s Day 2021

Built for Zero

Built for Zero, a national initiative, has welcomed Nevada County into the cohort of communities in the “last mile” of ending homelessness for a specific population.

Nevada County is proud to announce participation in Built for Zero, a national initiative of more than 80 communities working to measurably end homelessness, one population at a time. Being added to the “last mile” cohort indicates that the community is close to measurably ending veteran homelessness, a milestone known as functional zero. Functional zero for veteran homelessness is achieved when a community has fewer veterans experiencing homelessness than can be routinely housed.  The Continuum of Care and the County joined Built for Zero last year and have been working with their nationally recognized team to increase collaboration and services coordination as well as improve data on vulnerable county residents experiencing homelessness. 

“Our community has stepped up to address veteran homelessness by implementing best practices that are proven to work,” explained Nancy Baglietto, Executive Director of Hospitality House shelter and Board President of the Nevada County Continuum of Care. “Built for Zero helps ensure that systems are in place that when a veteran experiences homelessness in Nevada County, it will be both a rare and brief occurrence moving forward.”

Nevada County agencies represented on the Continuum of Care, including Hospitality House, AMI housing, Volunteers of America, Federal Veteran Administration Partners and Connecting Point 2-1-1, have committed to the shared goal of reaching this milestone by Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2021. Current data demonstrates that there are 28 known veterans who are experiencing homelessness. With additional resource and collaborative efforts, Nevada County is on pace to end homelessness for these and future local veterans. 

“We are in striking distance of functional zero and are excited to engage the broader community to get there. We know none of us can do it alone. Initiatives like this are a great example of what we mean when we say, ‘Better Together,’” says Ryan Gruver, Agency Director, Nevada County Health and Human Services.    

Better Together Nevada County is an overall strategy spearheaded by Nevada County to support innovative and meaningful collaboration with key stakeholders, while educating the public, and inviting them to be part of the solution. Participating stakeholders aim to keep the community informed of constantly growing and evolving partnerships, as well as ongoing projects and events aimed at ending homelessness.

 “Nobody should have to experience homelessness, particularly the brave people who put their lives on the line to protect this country. Working together as a community, we can end veteran homelessness. As such, we are issuing a call to action to community members and landlords who would like to join this effort by renting to veterans," says Jennifer Price, CEO of AMI Housing. “We have partnered with the County and the Continuum of Care to create a Landlord Liaison Program that will work directly with landlords. If you're interested in helping us to house all our veterans and learn more about our programs, please contact us.”

The Nevada County Veterans Services Office has focused on building strong collaborative relationships with local veterans’ organizations and the VA to provide temporary hotel vouchers and immediate food assistance. They have also worked with the VA to streamline processes that allow for the timely referral for vouchers from the federal government, health treatment, and self-treatment rehabilitation.   Additionally, they are currently meeting weekly with community nonprofits to review the list of every veteran experiencing homelessness, assessing available resources, and matching them with the services and support they need to exit homelessness. 

Hospitality House also works closely with the Nevada County Veterans Services Office and VA to leverage resources, offering homeless veterans emergency shelter and support since its inception but introduced a formal Homeless Veterans Housing Program on Veteran’s Day last year, in partnership with Friends of Nevada County Military. The program is exclusive to Nevada County veterans experiencing homelessness, veterans at-risk of homelessness, and surviving family members. The program provides housing assistance (first month’s rent, last month’s rent, security deposits) and homelessness prevention (help with past due rent, utilities, medical bills, etc.) as well as safety net care, such as emergency shelter, food, case management, job training, mental health counseling and transportation as needed. The program is an asset to the Built for Zero initiative. 

“We have the resources — we just need to find additional housing units and continue to stay committed to achieve this goal. Together we can get this done,” says Nevada County Veterans Services Officer (CVSO) David West. “As a former homeless veteran, it brings me much pride to know that we are serious about ending veteran homelessness in our county and I know that we can achieve it.  We’re in an historic moment of resources, opportunity, and momentum. Everything from our data, to our resources, to our teamwork tells us this goal is within reach. Now is the moment for us to get this done. We just need the help and partnership of leaders, landlords, and community members to get us over the finish line. Together we believe we can house these individuals and get to functional zero.” 

Once Functional Zero is achieved for veterans, like other communities in the country that have met this goal, Nevada County plans to apply what is learned from this process in its collective effort to eradicate homelessness across Nevada County.
If you are a landlord or are aware of housing units currently or potentially available for veterans in Nevada County, contact AMI Housing: (530) 887-5088

Anyone who knows of a homeless veteran, is a homeless veteran, or needs information on available services, contact David West, Nevada County Veterans Services Officer at (530) 265-1446 or david.west@co.nevada.ca.us

The Nevada County Veteran’s Services Office
988 McCourtney Rd
Grass Valley, CA
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday through Friday.

Veterans at risk of homelessness or need of housing support or shelter, please contact Hospitality House’s Homeless Veterans Housing Program by reaching out to Tyson Powers at (530) 798-6465 or tpowers@hhshelter.org, or veteran Bill Davis at (530) 615.7873 or wdavis@hhshelter.org. Learn more about the program at: https://hhshelter.org/ programs-services/veterans-housing/.      

About Built for Zero

Built for Zero is a movement of more than 80 communities committed to measurably and equitably ending homelessness — and proving that it is possible. It is led by Community Solutions, a national nonprofit that was recently awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change grant, which awarded $100 million to help accelerate an end to homelessness in the U.S. Communities in Built for Zero have adopted a data-driven methodology to change how homeless response systems work and the impact they can achieve. Fueled by collaboration and data, 14 communities in Built for Zero have reached functional zero, a milestone more measurably solving homelessness for a population. Learn more at www.builtforzero.org

Communities in Built for Zero have demonstrated that it is possible to design systems that can reduce and end homelessness at a population level. These changes often include

  • An integrated, command center team. To harness the collective power of an entire community, key actors like nonprofit organizations, the Continuum of Care, the housing authority, local government, and the VA come together around a shared aim.
  • A shared aim. Built for Zero communities establish a shared aim to reach functional zero for one or more populations on the way to ending homelessness for all. They measure success toward this goal by whether they are driving population-level reductions in homelessness, rather than program-level outcomes. By reaching functional zero, communities are able to demonstrate that coordinated, data-driven systems are in place to continuously keep homelessness rare and brief. 
  • Comprehensive, real-time, by-name data. Built for Zero communities know everyone experiencing homelessness by name, in real time. As modelled in public health, communities can also track the dynamics of homelessness at a population level, understanding inflow, outflow, and whether efforts are driving reductions in homelessness. 
  • Strategic, data-driven housing investments. Built for Zero communities use real-time data to help secure housing resources and target them for the greatest possible needs.

 

Watch a 4-minute video that provides an overview of Built for Zero.

 

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