Re: today 10-11am webinar: #BuiltForZero [homelessness] & Public Interest Technology #builtforzero

Jayme Delson

Hi Tim, and others,

Thank you Andy and Sharon for your support for speaking ones understanding of the situation !

I was born into a family of a social worker and as a result have been reviewing homeless programs for decades.  Recently there have been many more names of programs.  This is a trend.  A modest change is made to the same basic platform, and is now rebranded as the solution.

What worked to a somewhat better extent in 1980, now works more poorly.  Each modest change i have seen, are good.  However small changes to a basic program that is out of step with 21st century socioeconomic reality is not turning the tide.  This is unfortunate as the affordability crisis is only deepening.

People enter the field from a university that continues to base there course work on this solutions that were somewhat sensible when the typewriter was key.  Today one may call it transitional housing, rapid rehousing, housing first or built for 0, i am not yet a master of this 0 yet, however from the summaries i have read so far, its just another rubber biscuit.

living in far northern California i might be too far from the center of this group to be meaningful.  However I would love a focus on actual solutions that are uplifting, community and  participant driven,  as well as permanent.  Housing is indeed the tip of the iceberg, however it is only the tip. 

As a result solutions to me must be holistic, including homes for people in need that are tailored to their well being.  Based on thousands of conversations with people on and over the economic edge over the last few decades, i see some, but very little interest in siting in an apartment and working if they are lucky at the laundry mat.  This might be fine for a policy maker, they have the funds to make change, for most it is just depressing!   Mental health is totally out of their league today,  at this rate, tomorrow will be really much more bleak.  Exchanging a housing problem, for a mental health problem, is like exchanging a rundown car, for a 50 car pile up traffic accident.  Even if there was evidence of such approaches leading to people becoming housed on along term basis, which is clearly not the case.

For most who i have spoken with, a cottage or even a tiny home, with a small yard, would be an amazing up grade.  Along with many others who enjoy such opportunity nearby.  However this in itself is not sufficient for human well being in today's world.  However when we include areas for gardening, workshops, a big kitchen for preparing and preserving food, a place for running small business, repairing, recycling, upcycling and building etc.  Than the citizenry may provide for themselves, and each other, as well as reduce costs, and earn money, thereby making ends meet.   For most people who live this way, their physical and mental health improve.   This is not surprising given humanity has lived a version of this for thousands of years, our mind and bodies have evolved to thrive in and around nature, and people helping people.     

Fortunately, such solutions are low cost, inspiring, sustainable and more and more people are recognizing this.  We as far as i have seen, are still essentially not working as much of a team.  if we do, we perhaps can turn the tide!

I would love to hear from both people who agree.   And who disagree, if they think i have missed something.


Jayme Delson


On 5/13/2021 7:18 AM, Andrew Olshin wrote:

Commissioner Sharon Meieran is my hero.  If you agree with what she is saying below, please post a comment here. 

Below is a quote from the May 5th AHFE meeting:

“Sorry, my motto is speak your mind even if your voice shakes, and I know my voice is shaking right now. The way that we even have this conversation is to me so disrespectful. We talk about having difficult conversations, we talk about inclusion and equity and respecting people, and what I find is, we actually don’t have those difficult conversations because certain voices and perspectives are silenced or mocked or disregarded for whatever reason. It does not actually feel like a safe space in many ways, and in recognizing that I’m privileged, I’m an elected official, that I’m white, all of these things—and for me it doesn’t feel safe. I can imagine it might not feel safe for other people.”

Andy Olshin

On May 13, 2021, at 5:40 AM, Tim McCormick <tmccormick@...> wrote:

recent story on Built For Zero, in Next City:
"Bakersfield is the first city in California to achieve functional zero for any category, and Maguire says that’s an important milestone in a state with an infamously tough housing crisis.

“[Bakersfield] is not L.A., but it’s a decent-sized city combined with a huge rural county,” Maguire says. “It’s a large, complex geography in one of the highest-cost states in America, with conservative politicians and lots of things that would make people say, ‘That’s not the place to go solve homelessness.’ But actually, Bakersfield did it.”

One reason why Bakersfield has had success in reducing its chronically homeless population is because the Housing Authority of the County of Kern has committed time and resources to helping. Heather Kimmel was leading Built for Zero work at the California Veterans Assistance Foundation before joining the housing authority, where she now works as assistant executive director. The Housing Authority of the County of Kern has been uniquely committed to serving people experiencing homelessness for years, Kimmel says, but more housing authorities are starting to focus explicitly on the issue.

“The link between the housing authority’s resources and ending homelessness is becoming more and more clear,” Kimmel says. “A community can’t effectively address homelessness without a strong partnership with the housing authority.”

Sounds good, right? Solutions Journalism! 

with apologies, I find I once again have a contrarian take... see below cartoon

how the story went..How the situation's going..
Chronic homeless reduced by 70 people; 
total, by PIT count, increased by 570 people, 27%, in a year.
Perhaps better story is, why we're hearing #BuiltForZero story, vs of the less attention-deserving poor?
 c/@anikasinghlemar @JakeMaguire

as I tweeted to story author, editor, Next City co-founder acquaintance, and #BuiltForZero program head Jake Maguire. 

Not so incidentally, I recently watched Maguire present to Portland area's  homelessnes policy board, A Home For Everyone.  AHFE's Executive Committee has basically preemptorily adopted BuiltForZero's program and policy guidance, with no public discussion, in a manner and direction I find rather problematic for multiple reasons.

On Thu, May 13, 2021 at 5:27 AM Tim McCormick via <> wrote:


Join us for an event featuring the book's authors and Built for Zero leaders.
May 13, 2021


Online event today 10am PDT, 1pm EDT, featuring #BuiltForZero program from Community Solutions, and the well-known founder of CS, Roseanne Haggerty. 

You MUST register here: 
** If any issues, contact hosts Community Solutions - I am not running this, won't be able to help. **

Built For Zero is a very significant program/org that recently got huge funding boost from the MacArthur Foundation.  

They have a particular approach to defining and achieving "functional zero" homelessness for target populations -- typically, either chronic or veteran homelessness. 

This particular webinar appears to be looking especially at an  "Public Interest Technology," and features authors of recent book on this. #BuiltForZero is a key example discussed in the book.  

From what I know and can see, I really recommend this webinar. If you haven't yet heard about BuiltForZero in your community, chances are you will before long, and your officials / agency heads have already. Including recently in Portland, -- where basically their program was adopted straight out by A Home For Everyone, Executive Committee, without public discussion or consultation with the Coordinating Board. 

Could be fine, great, in outcome -- I don't know, I'm just skeptical as usual, especially when they didn't ask us our views on it. 
The Executive Committee peremptorily chose Community Solutions - seems like the typical amusing ironic way of the world, from my p.o.v., but who asked my opinion on that anyway, ever? ;)

Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 
Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

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