Zero: 2016 – Ending Veteran and Chronic Homelessness


 Overcoming obstacles to ending veteran and chronic homelessness is no easy task, but our community is working together to get it done. This video is a lighthearted take on how inspired and determined Sacramento is regarding ending veteran homelessness. 


How Are We Doing?

Sacramento Steps Forward is working to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015, and chronic homelessness one year later. The Zero:2016 initiative includes 75 communities across the nation who work with New York-based national nonprofit Community Solutions to  adopt and implement proven best practices, deploy existing resources more efficiently, and use real-time data to improve performance.

To make sure we reach our goals for veterans and chronically homeless individuals, SSF collects housing placement information from across Sacramento County to track our community’s progress. Each month, we report this data to Community Solutions, along with our community partners across the nation.

Results of 2015 Homeless System Data Analysis

Sacramento Steps Forward hosted a community forum on January 21, 2016 to present the first round of findings from our Homeless System Data Analysis.
Click HERE to download the presentation.

Getting to Functional Zero

Our goal of these efforts is to achieve “functional zero”  for veterans by the end of 2015 and for chronically homeless individuals in Sacramento County by the end of 2016. Functional zero simply means that as individuals and families become homeless, our system will be able to respond quickly with access to emergency or permanent housing and supportive services that meet the individual’s or family’s needs, that the period of homelessness is brief, and that individuals and families do not become homeless again.

Take-Down Targets

Achieving functional zero requires not only addressing the housing and services needs of the individuals counted during our point-in-time count (a snapshot of those experiencing homelessness on one night in January), but also accommodating everyone who becomes homeless throughout the year. Community Solutions uses data from the point-in-time count, as well as data from service providers, the Veterans administration, and other community partners, to predict the total number of individuals who will become homeless over the course of a year. This figure constitutes the take-down target – total number of individuals needing housing to reach functional zero- for each subpopulation, and helps us determine how many individuals need permanent housing placement each month.


Subpopulation 2015 Homeless Count Take-Down Target Monthly Placement Goal

(as of September 2015)

Veterans 313 668

(by December 31, 2015)

Chronically Homeless 466 621

(by December 31, 2016)



Finding Permanent Homes for Veterans

Sacramento Steps Forward homeless outreach navigators work one-on-one with individuals experiencing homelessness throughout Sacramento County to connect them with services and assist them toward housing. SSF also collaborates with veteran related services organizations, including Sacramento Veterans Resource CenterSacramento Stand Down, and the Veterans Administration to connect homeless veterans with benefits and other resources needed to maintain housing.

Since January, our community has found permanent housing for nearly 500 veterans. But to reach our goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of this year, Sacramento Steps Forward and its partners must find homes for almost 700 veterans by the end of December.




Housing Chronically Homeless Individuals

Sacramento Steps Forward, through its Common Cents initiative, has begun to focus its housing and services on the most vulnerable chronically homeless individuals. The 2015 Sacramento Homeless Count found that, on any given night, 466 chronically homeless individuals experience homelessness. To be considered chronically homeless, individuals must have a disabling condition and have been homeless for one year or longer, or have experienced four or more episodes of homelessness in the last three years. Having found homes for almost 400 chronically homeless individuals since January, Sacramento is on track to reach functional zero for chronically homeless people before the end of 2016.


Using Collaboration and Data to House People More Quickly

Sacramento Steps Forward’s participation in Zero:2016 has enabled our community to better understand the needs that individuals experiencing homelessness and homeless veterans have, and to more readily connect them to services that help them find and keep housing.  Thanks to strong partnerships with the City of Sacramento, Sacramento County, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, Volunteers of America, Sacramento Self-Help Housing, the Veterans Administration, Veterans Resource Center, and others, SSF has been able to connect individuals with public assistance benefits, supportive services, healthcare and ultimately place homeless veterans and chronically homeless individuals in appropriate permanent housing as quickly as possible.