Recently, we shared the news that our grant partner Community Solutions was recognized as a finalist for the MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious 100&Change grant. Now, we’re proud to share one more proof point of why their work and the Built for Zero movement is worthy of this consideration. Today, the city of Lynchburg, VA and its four surrounding counties announced that they have become the 12th community to reach functional zero on veteran homelessness.
This critical milestone means that the Lynchburg community has rebuilt their homelessness response system so that fewer veterans experience homelessness than can be routinely housed in a month. In other words, when a veteran in this community experiences homelessness, he or she is identified and housed quickly.
Lynchburg has sustained this milestone since February 2020, proving its homeless response system can ensure veteran homelessness is rare and brief even as new veterans experience a housing crisis. Lynchburg’s area homeless response system will now focus on protecting this achievement in the face of impending inflow on homelessness expected to come from COVID-19.
Recognition for this enormous accomplishment belongs to the Central Virginia Continuum of Care, led by Lynchburg-based Miriam’s House, and the thirty-two area organizations who collaborated around the goal.
“Today’s announcement celebrates a team effort that has made homelessness among veterans rare and brief when it occurs, and it has inspired confidence that we can maintain this reality for veterans in the Lynchburg area,” said Sarah Quarantotto, Executive Director of Miriam’s House. “What this does not mean is that our community will never see another homeless veteran again. But what this accomplishment does mean, is that we have the resources, capacity and teamwork to serve every veteran that does become homeless in our community.”
“This is an accomplishment to celebrate, and it is one to protect in the face of an impending surge in homelessness,” said Tab Robertson, Board Chair, Central Virginia Continuum of Care. “Now more than ever, it is important to have a system capable of keeping homelessness rare and a brief and passing experience when it occurs for our veterans. Functional zero is never a finish line, but by achieving and sustaining it so far, we have proven what is possible.”
We’re proud to partner with Built for Zero and the more than 80 communities dedicated to ending veteran and chronic homelessness. Together, we can remind America that the men and women experiencing homelessness in our country are our neighbors and that we owe it to them to rebuild our systems so that homelessness is a thing of the past.