100,000 Homes Campaign Crosses 30,000 Threshold

By Alex Sanders, February 4, 2013 - 9:26am

“30,000 is a huge milestone,” said Campaign Director Becky Kanis. “It’s a big step on our way to 100,000, and it also shows that our pace is accelerating.”

The 100,000 Homes Campaign, a national movement of communities working together to permanently house 100,000 chronic and vulnerable homeless Americans, has officially cleared 30,000 people housed. The Campaign, which is coordinated nationally by Community Solutions, said this week that participating communities have now found permanent housing for 31,226 chronic and vulnerable homeless individuals and families in more than 180 communities across the country.

“30,000 is a huge milestone,” said Campaign Director Becky Kanis. “It’s a big step on our way to 100,000, and it also shows that our pace is accelerating.”

The Campaign reached the 20,000 milestone in August of last year after roughly two years of working with communities. The fact that participating communities and partners housed an additional 10,000 people in just 6 months shows the dramatic increase in the rate at which people are finding housing across the country.

The housing placements that put the movement over the top came from Boston, MA (see photo above).

“When we first launched, the national housing rate was somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 people per month,” said Campaign Communications Director Jake Maguire. “Today, we’re seeing numbers closer to 2,000 people per month. It’s a heartening sign that we’re on our way.”

The Campaign employs a national collective impact model in which communities work together to adopt best practices identified by the national Campaign team. That approach has paid large dividends as communities have begun to share successful innovations with their peers in real time. Where smart new ideas used to take years to spread, the Campaign has helped them spread quickly across the country in months or even weeks.

Later this year, the Campaign will release a major qualitative study on best practices drawn from extensive evaluation of several diverse communities across the country. The results are expected to help communities further implement the most effective strategies for housing their homeless neighbors as quickly and efficiently as possible.

One such innovation is the Registry Week, in which local volunteers comb their streets block by block in the early hours of the morning to find and survey their homeless neighbors. More than 80 participating communities have now completed local Registry Weeks, resulting in more than 40,000 homeless Americans being surveyed and placed on the radar of local housing and service providers. The resulting data has helped many communities prioritize resources to the most vulnerable among them and dramatically expedite the permanent housing process.

“Communities are adopting the Registry Week practice at an incredible rate,” said Maguire. “Over 30 communities are conducting Registry Week efforts this month alone!”

Last summer, the Campaign also released a mobile version of the Registry Week Vulnerability Index survey called Homeless Connector. The web-based platform allows anyone in America to survey their homeless neighbors and submit the resulting data to local housing and service providers using nothing but a smartphone.

“Our dream is that surveying your homeless neighbors and knowing them by name would become a mainstream practice in America,” said Kanis. “If we can help communities do that, we’ll have taken a giant step forward toward ending chronic and vulnerable homelessness for good.”

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