In this post, Beth Sandor, Director of our national Zero: 2016 initiative, explains how communities are measuring the end of veteran homelessness and why it matters.
We talk a lot about data here at Community Solutions, and with good reason -- we firmly believe that you can’t solve a problem that you can’t properly dimension. That's why Zero: 2016 communities across the country have set clear measurable goals, known as Take Down Targets, to measure progress and optimize resources as they work toward an end to chronic and veteran homelessness.
James, a U.S. Army veteran, first became homeless when he was 9 years old. In 1986, after being discharged from the Army, he immediately fell into homelessness again and has constantly grappled with it in the 29 years since, most recently in the Zero: 2016 community of Jacksonville, Florida. Adding to his struggles, James faced substance abuse issues while homeless and copes with mental illness and PTSD.
We’ve all been there -- stuck in a seemingly endless project, out of ideas, unsure of next steps or uncertain about how to measure progress after finally settling on a path forward. It’s a physically and mentally draining feeling, with which even the most serious problem solvers contend.
We’ve all heard the ubiquitous Fish Proverb: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” The message, of course, is that it’s more useful in the long term to teach someone how to do something for themselves then to do it for them.
Once a month, we highlight the most uplifting news we can find from across our work. This month, we're telling the story of CC, a 15-year veteran of the US Army who battled homelessness and recently found a home through one of our Zero: 2016 partner communities.
Okay, you are doing the fundamentals of ending homelessness in your community: using mainstream services, only doing what works, you know all of your neighbors experiencing homelessness by name, and you’ve collected all of this by-name data in the form of an organized and prioritized list.
Today, we joined Zero: 2016 implementation partner OrgCode in rolling out Version 2 of the VI-SPDAT, as well as Version 2 of the F-VI-SPDAT. After a rigorous feedback cycle, research and testing, this next evolution of the tools provides meaningful improvements to assist single adults and families experiencing homelessness and service providers in communities around the globe.
About the VI-SPDAT Update:
Earlier this month, we touched on the idea of using data for improvement in order to make meaningful, informed adjustments. This is the way of change agents and the most serious problem solvers across industries, from healthcare to education to business. But it isn’t a new or novel approach. In fact, many of us are likely already making adjustments and improvements that are based on data analysis.