Rockford Completes Mayors Challenge
Lauded as First City in the Nation to
Reach Functional Zero and Effectively End Veteran Homelessness
Rockford, Illinois – The City of Rockford Department of Human Services, a community action agency serving Boone and Winnebago counties, announced today that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veteran Affairs have recognized Rockford as the first community in the national Zero: 2016 movement to reach functional zero and effectively end homelessness among local Veterans.
The City of Rockford has also been recognized by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness for successfully completing the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness; an initiative led by First Lady Michelle Obama. The Mayors Challenge calls upon mayors and other state and local leaders across the country to publicly express their commitment and provide the leadership to implement the strategies necessary for their communities to end homelessness among all Veterans within their communities by the end of 2015.
“Ensuring every person has a safe, stable place to call home takes teamwork and dedication at every level. Rockford stepped up to this challenge and today has every reason to celebrate its incredible achievement in effectively ending Veteran homelessness. Communities around the country can now look to the Forest City as a model for serving our nation’s heroes,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro.
The Zero: 2016 movement, coordinated by Community Solutions with coaching from the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), consists of 75 communities working to end Veteran and chronic homelessness by the end of 2016. The national effort supports participants in optimizing local resources, tracking progress against monthly housing goals, and accelerating the spread of proven strategies, such as those implemented through the Mayors Challenge. Rockford was selected for Zero: 2016 through a competitive, national application process.
Functional zero is a key component to ensuring every Veteran in the community has a permanent home. In Zero: 2016, functional zero is reached when, at any point in time, the number of Veterans experiencing literal homelessness, both on the streets and in shelters, is no greater than the city’s monthly Veteran housing placement rate. Rockford has housed a total of 73 Veterans to date. To remain at functional zero, Rockford must have no more than eight homeless Veterans awaiting housing and any new homeless Veteran is housed within 30 days.