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What is “Functional zero” homelessness?



ABILENE TX – It has been over a year that the city of Abilene has been declared functional zero for both veteran and Chronic homelessness. This has lead to confusion amongst the community because driving around Abilene it’s clear that some are still living without homes.

Deborah Mays lives near South 14th and Butternut street and every day she passes by a now vacant car lot at the intersection. People had been sleeping in the lot for some time but the conditions continue to get worse.

“Course the people that’s in good places don’t have to see it. But I have to see it because I pass by here all the time. Nobody is helping, I already called the police I already called the churches I already called 2-1-1.” Said Mays.

So why are there still citizens experiencing homelessness if we declared functional zero?

“The reason that its not zero its functional zero is we know that there’s not ever going to be absolutely no people experiencing homelessness.” Said Kathrine Bisson , the executive director for Abilene Hope Haven.

Functional Zero is a designation from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. A city can achieve this by having 3 or less people experiencing homelessness in a given demographic.

Abilene has been able to achieve this for veterans and the chronically homeless. And has held this designation for over a year.

Chronic homelessness identifies any person that has been continually homeless for a year or for any 12 months over a 3 year period.

While still maintaining the veteran and chronic homeless communities Hope Haven have set out to achieve functional zero in the family and youth communities.