What does it mean to end chronic homelessness?

Opening Doors, the federal strategic plan to end homelessness in America, outlines the following goals:

But what does it mean to end homelessness?

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) is outlining specific criteria and benchmarks on how to achieve these different goals and what they mean.

Most recently, the USICH released information what ending chronic homelessness means.

Here are the main criteria for achieving an end to chronic homelessness at the local level:

  1. The community has identified and provided outreach to all individuals experiencing or at risk for chronic homelessness, and prevents chronic homelessness whenever possible.
  2. The community provides access to shelter or other temporary accommodations immediately to any person experiencing unsheltered chronic homelessness who wants it.
  3. The community has implemented a community-wide Housing First orientation and response that also considers the preferences of the individuals being served.
  4. The community assists individuals experiencing chronic homelessness to move swiftly into permanent housing with the appropriate level of supportive services and effectively prioritizes people for permanent supportive housing.
  5. The community has resources, plans, and system capacity in place to prevent chronic homelessness from occurring and to ensure that individuals who experienced chronic homelessness do not fall into homelessness again or, if they do, are quickly reconnected to permanent housing.


Hospital to Home_blog

Hospital to Home

The Hospital to Home (H2H) project strives to provide coordinated pathways to permanent supportive housing for some of Nashville/Davidson County’s most medically vulnerable, homeless residents.  The newly assembled H2H Steering Committee, including representatives from 4 local hospitals, 3 federally qualified health centers, and the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission (MHC), met for the first time on March 4, 2016.  Current H2H multi-sector strategic planning efforts addressing housing, care coordination, and data sharing are framed by a collective impact model – particularly suited for complex, systemic problems like improving stable housing placements and medical access and care for some of our most vulnerable neighbors.

Focus Strategies has recently provided technical assistance to MHC and the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) producing recommendations on systems re-design – including the creation of a Housing Crisis Resolution System (HCRS).  An HCRS speaks to systems transformation – shifting from a set of homeless services that only ameliorate the immediate crisis of homelessness to a crisis response system that can help prevent and resolve it.  It is anticipated that the establishment of H2H Coordinating Teams at local health care delivery sites (i.e., emergency rooms, hospitals, health clinics) will become a component part of Nashville’s new coordinated entry system – an essential feature of the overall HCRS.


Housing Placement updates for 2016

So far this year, Nashville’s provider community has assisted 278 people experiencing chronic homelessness and 102 Veterans move into their own housing. These numbers seemed to be unachievable three years ago at the launch of the How’s Nashville campaign.

Let’s recap:

Prior to June 2013, the average monthly housing placement hovered around 19 people. Then, in June 2013, our community launched the How’s Nashville campaign with a 100-Day challenge to house 200 people in 100 days. We did miss the target by a few people, but as a community we celebrated the success of housing over 70 people during July and overall managed to double the average monthly housing placement rate.

By 2014, we had reached an average housing placement rate of approximately 45 people per month. At the end of 2015, that number had increased to 59 people a month.

And we have kept it steady ever since. In May of 2016 alone, our partner agencies helped 88 people who struggled with chronic homelessness move into permanent housing. This is a number, we could not have fathomed three years ago.

Thank you Nashville! Thank you to all provider agencies!



Housing First

Housing First is a proven approach to ending homelessness, especially for vulnerably, high-needs populations.

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has recently published a Housing First check list that serves as a tool to evaluate whether a particular housing program or a community approach is following the Housing First principles.

In addition, for partners interested in digging a little deeper, Pathways Housing First, one of the nations first Housing First program, has developed a Fidelity_Scale for programs that follow an Assertive-Community-Treatment (ACT) case management model.

As a community that is working on ending homelessness by creating a systemic approach to achieve our goal, we encourage our partner agencies to familiarize themselves with what Housing First truly entails. Information and education is the first step toward understanding our common goal – which is to make homelessness episodes rare, brief and one-time for everyone in Nashville.


First Quarter graphs

Housing Placements First Quarter 2016

In January 2015, the How’s Nashville movement launched 2016 by 2016, a local campaign to end Veteran homelessness and chronic homelessness by December 31, 2016.  This campaign is aligned with Zero: 2016, a national effort that supports our local homeless service community through resource optimization and technical assistance.

The 2016 by 2016 campaign set a goal to assist 595 local Veterans and 1,421 people experiencing chronic and/or vulnerable homelessness with permanent housing by the end of 2016.

So far a total of 352 Veterans and 834 people who were chronically homeless have been housed since the start of the 2016 by 2016 campaign. That equals an average housing placement rate of 79 people per month (23 Veterans and 55 people experiencing chronic homelessness).



We appreciate your support. Since inception of the How’s Nashville campaign, the Nashville community has housed close to 2,000 people experiencing chronic homelessness (this number includes all Veterans since January 2015).

This great achievement was only possible with your financial support. Please consider making a donation to help cover move-in costs including security and utility deposits, first month rent, some back pay, household items and furniture.

We sincerely apologize that our online donation is currently not working (we are in the process of fixing it). You can make a contribution the following way:

Make your check payable to “How’s Nashville” and mail them to: Will Connelly, Metropolitan Homelessness Commission, P.O. Box 196300, Nashville, TN, 37219-6300.

Thank you for your generosity! We will send you an official thank you note in the mail.