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Built for Zero welcomes seven new communities in the spring of 2021

  |  May 18, 2021

During the Spring Virtual Learning Session in May 2021, Built for Zero welcomed a group of seven new communities hailing from California to Ohio and Michigan to Texas, bringing the total number of participating Built for Zero communities to 89. These exciting additions to the Built for Zero movement contribute a collection of system-wide strengths like their passion, determination, resilience, and resourcefulness as they each work to end homelessness across their Continuums of Care (CoCs).

The new communities include Colorado Balance of State – Southwest Region, Colorado Balance of State – Western Colorado, Downtown Cincinnati Continuum of Care, Kent County, Sonoma County Continuum of Care, Texas Balance of State – Lubbock, and Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency.

Read more about each of the new BFZ communities below!

*Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.


Colorado Balance of State – Southwest Region
CoC: CO-500

Why did you decide to join Built for Zero?

“Our superpower is flexibility and resilience. We figure it out!”

Our county has few resources to address homelessness and most existing resources focus on homeless prevention, not housing the homeless community members. One barrier to finding solutions for the issue of homelessness has been accurately collecting and maintaining data across all county agencies providing homeless services. We joined BFZ to receive the training and support to accomplish developing accurate practices and systems for data collection in order to establish a by-name homeless list.

What are you most looking forward to?

Our community is excited about ultimately having accurate data as well as formalizing community partnerships to collect accurate data.

What is one of the biggest challenges your community faces in ending homelessness?

Currently, the biggest challenge within our community is lack of available housing as well as the barriers that exist for some of our community members around eligibility for the housing that is available.

What is one of your community’s superpowers?

Our superpower is flexibility and resilience. We figure it out!


Colorado Balance of State – Western Colorado
CoC: CO-500

Why did you decide to join Built for Zero?

“We’re looking forward to having the opportunity to learn from other Continuums of Care around the nation and having a team of individuals supporting us in our data journey.”

We decided to join the Built for Zero group to help strengthen our local CoC and increase our capacity to have quality data. With this quality data, we can understand root cases of homelessness and do a better job at homelessness prevention in our community. The Montrose team recently developed a community Housing Action Plan which aligns exactly with what Built for Zero’s goals are to reduce homelessness in our community. 

What are you most looking forward to? 

Having the opportunity to learn from other CoCs around the nation and having a team of individuals supporting us in our data journey.

What is one of the biggest challenges your community faces in ending homelessness?

Capacity to serve homelessness individuals, housing demands, and the lack of supportive housing in our community.

What is one of your community’s superpowers?

Our community works well together and can accomplish a lot on a shoestring budget. Our community is ready to take on this task and advance to help reduce those who are experiencing homelessness in our community.


Downtown Cincinnati Continuum of Care
CoC: OH-500

Why did you decide to join Built for Zero?

We have heard great feedback over the years on the success Built for Zero has had in other communities. While we feel that Cincinnati has wonderful resources, strong community support, and is doing a commendable job overall, we always want to improve and look at best practices.

What are you most looking forward to?

Data refinement and analyzing our most challenging cases

What is one of the biggest challenges your community faces in ending homelessness?

Collaboration between all service providers, identifying missing components in our system, and agreeing on how we move forward together to correct any issues.

What is one of your community’s superpowers?

We have a very supportive community that is giving and willing to put funds towards solutions. We also have a great core system of service providers that do an outstanding job providing resources to our homeless population.


Kent County
CoC: MI-506

Why did you decide to join Built for Zero?

“Our community decided to join Built for Zero to grow our efforts to end homelessness by looking at our system data and processes within a new framework.”

Our community decided to join Built for Zero to grow our efforts to end homelessness by looking at our system data and processes within a new framework. While we have reached functional zero for veterans, we felt Built for Zero would provide an opportunity to engage with communities and learn from best practices across the country as we move forward.

Other communities who have participated with Built for Zero also encouraged us to join the Built for Zero work.  

What are you most looking forward to?

We are excited to have a new lens in which to look at our data and system, as well as support from experts in this space and opportunities to learn from communities across the country. In addition, we are hopeful that shifting our community’s mindset will lead to increased collaboration across many sectors in our community.

What is one of the biggest challenges your community faces in ending homelessness?

 A lack of quality and affordable housing units for families and individuals in a housing crisis has been one of our biggest barriers to ensuring that homelessness is rare and brief in our community. 

What is one of your community’s superpowers?

We are very thankful to have so many community members and leaders who are passionate about and dedicated to working towards ending homelessness in our community. We are a resource-rich community and we are all coming with the mindset that we believe ending homelessness is achievable and we have the passion to make that happen!


Sonoma County Continuum of Care
CoC: CA-504

Why did you decide to join Built for Zero?

We joined in order to build on previous collaborations in the community (such as the recent 100 Day Challenge) and address chronic homelessness, especially in light of the impact of the pandemic.

What are you most looking forward to?

Learning from other communities and breaking down silos between partners and providers.

What is one of the biggest challenges your community faces in ending homelessness?

Lack of housing due to several years of wildfires (2017 and 2019) as well as rising rents and impact of COVID. 

What is one of your community’s superpowers?

Resiliency! We’ve overcome two disastrous fires that destroyed over 5% of our total housing stock, a flood, and COVID all in the past four years, but we still managed to reduce homelessness by 7% in 2020!

“One of the biggest things we’re looking forward to is taking our data quality and real-time understanding to the next level.”

— Texas Balance of State – Lubbock

Texas Balance of State – Lubbock
CoC: TX-607

Why did you decide to join Built for Zero?

We decided to join BFZ because we absolutely believe that ending homelessness is possible, and we know that increasing our real-time understanding of homelessness and improving our ability to work together are key to achieving this goal. We know that housing and health are inseparable and believe that we can improve the overall health of our community by working to achieve functional zero homelessness in our defined populations.

What are you most looking forward to?

Ultimately, we want to reach functional zero in veteran and chronic homelessness, then all subpopulations. However, one of the biggest things we’re looking forward to is taking our data quality and real-time understanding to the next level. We are also looking forward to learning best practices from other communities and working collectively with our partners towards a common goal.

What is one of the biggest challenges your community faces in ending homelessness?

One of the biggest challenges our community faces in ending homelessness as a growing, mid-sized city, is making the shift from working in silos to working together as a system. We know a closer evaluation needs to be completed so that we are identifying gaps and not duplicating services when it’s unnecessary.  

What is one of your community’s superpowers?

Lubbock leverages a significant amount of private, community resources to support the work to end homelessness and fantastic community partners to support this work.


Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency
CoC: MI-502

“The strategies that other communities are using nationwide to address homelessness in their service areas would be beneficial to our Continuum of Care as we brainstorm and work through the common challenges we all are facing.”

Why did you decide to join Built for Zero?

Our organization and CoC body has a commitment to ending homelessness in the Out-Wayne community. As a system, we have worked hard to address issues such as access to service, prioritizing the most vulnerable, identifying and resolving gaps in the system. Through service provision and coordination within the system, community data is showing that there have been some positive shifts in addressing homelessness. 

Joining Built for Zero would allow our community to build upon our existing work and further move the needle in terms of ending homelessness in our community. Furthermore, the strategies that other communities are using nationwide to address homelessness in their service areas would be beneficial to our Continuum of Care as we brainstorm and work through the common challenges we all are facing.   

What are you most looking forward to?

As a community, we are most looking forward to receiving feedback and insight into the work. We also look forward to sharing best practices between communities. We are excited to find out how other communities are addressing homelessness.  

What is one of the biggest challenges your community faces in ending homelessness?

One of the biggest challenges that our community faces in ending homelessness is the need outpacing our resources specifically in terms of safe and affordable housing. There is a shortage of housing stock in our community, and we have been actively engaging landlords, municipalities, and other stakeholders to identify additional housing resources for clients. 

What is one of your community’s superpowers?

Our community is resilient. The best gift that we have is the ability to rebuild what has been broken. We meet clients where they are, and they are in the driver seat in terms of their success.

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