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Spaghetti at McDonalds?

Zero:2016 follows a proven model that works to end homelessness, particularly chronic and veteran homelessness.  After working with nearly 200 communities throughout the United States end homelessness, they have developed an outline, or how-to-guide, on how to organize your community to determine how much housing you have and how to move people experiencing homelessness into that housing. A way to, in fact, maximize on the housing you have available and make a case for additional housing resources while you’re providing housing  for the most vulnerable persons needing it in an incredibly simple format.

Zero:2016 has two goals:

  1. End Veteran homelessness by December 2015.
  2. End Chronic homelessness by December 2016.

Goals that are not related to Zero:2016

  1. End youth homelessness
  2. End Family Homelessness.
  3. End Poverty.
  4. End couch-surfing.
  5. End unstably housed situations.
  6. End doubled-up living situations.

If your community is participating in Zero:2016, then you have two goals.  That’s it. We can focus on the other stuff AFTER you complete the first two goals. When we, as communities, get great at the first two goals, achieving all the other goals will become much, much simpler.

I like to frame it from the standpoint that you make the commitment to run a franchise in your community.  You wouldn’t commit to running a McDonald’s franchise and not sell Big Macs or Quarter Pounders because, well, you don’t really like Big Macs or Quarter Pounders.  Instead, you really like lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs, so you put those on the menu instead.  Now, people are coming into your McDonalds and ordering Big Macs, because that is what people expect, but you have to explain that you know people normally order Big Macs, but you prefer lasagna, so if they want lasagna, they can order lasagna.  

Certain initiatives are widely lauded not because they are simply catchy, or buzz-wordy, or because people are forced to take part in them. Initiatives like Zero: 2016 are in over 200 communities simply because they have worked. One of the main reasons that 100,000 Homes and Zero: 2016 have been so successful is due to the fact that they are very targeted and focused endeavors. The awesome folks at Community Solutions did the hard work for us; they developed the method to follow and it is their expectation that we will follow the method.  And in many communities, by following the given method, it has transformed their ability to find, prioritize and house individuals and families. It’s even assisted some communities in ending veteran and chronic veteran homelessness (New Orleans and Phoenix, respectively) and ending chronic homelessness (Salt Lake City).

These communities have been so successful because they’ve strived for consistency. When you agree to run a franchise, you run the franchise the same as every other franchise with the same name.  Why?  Because people have an expectation.  They expect consistency from a franchise.

So, if your community made the commitment to Zero:2016, you made the commitment to the franchise.  You made the commitment to end Veteran and Chronic homelessness.  Not couch surfing.  Not unstably housed.  You are not ending poverty. You’ve made a commitment to execute consistency.

But, if you want to end poverty, then by all means, go end poverty.  Just don’t say that you are a Zero:2016 community, because you’re doing something entirely different. Something that is fine, to do, but entirely different.

WVCEH is working with eight communities throughout West Virginia to meet the commitments that were made to the Zero:2016 campaign. Clarksburg, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Lewisburg, Beckley and Martinsburg in the Balance of State, plus Charleston and Huntington. These communities made the commitment to the Zero: 2016 franchise and anything outside of that franchise menu is not a goal of Zero: 2016.

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WV Coalition to End Homelessness | PO Box 4697, Bridgeport, WV 26330 | 304-842-9522 | info@wvceh.org | website by brickswithoutstraw