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Homelessness is solvable: How The Rocket Community Fund is supporting the ‘Built for Zero’ movement

Rocket Companies stepped up for a special volunteer project to build a unique Homeless Resource Locator tool to help people experiencing homelessness more quickly identify where they can get help.
Photos of previously homeless veterans Jerry Manley in their new homes at Abrigo Apartments with help by Community Solutions and their Built for Zero initiative in Aurora, Colorado, Friday, November 9, 2018. Built for Zero is a rigorous national change effort working to help a core group of committed communities end veteran and chronic homelessness. Photo by Matt Nager

Homelessness is a serious problem in America. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Annual Homeless Assessment Report, California, New York, Florida and Washington led the nation in 2022 in unhoused Americans. Since 2022, the Wall Street Journal says, the number of unhoused people increased by about 11 percent. This year, cities like Los Angeles and New York are reporting increased numbers, citing the cost of housing as a major issue.


But just because homelessness is a serious problem doesn’t mean it’s an unsolvable problem. Across the country, communities are demonstrating what it takes to address this challenge and it starts with a simple acknowledgment: homelessness is often seen as an individual failure, when it is really a systemic failure.


Homelessness is solvable: How The Rocket Community Fund is supporting the 'Built for Zero' movement
Previously homeless veteran Jerry Manley in his new home at Abrigo Apartments with help by Community Solutions and their Built for Zero initiative in Aurora, Colorado, Friday, November 9, 2018. Built for Zero is a rigorous national change effort working to help a core group of committed communities end veteran and chronic homelessness.
Photo by Matt Nager

The Rocket Community Fund believes every American should have equitable access to safe and stable housing, particularly veterans who have fought for the freedoms of us all, which is why they chose to join the Built for Zero movement in 2018 as a core partner.

Created by the national nonprofit Community Solutions, Built for Zero, is a movement of more than 100 communities across the country that are committed to measurable and equitably solving homelessness by changing how their local homeless response systems work. Using the power of real-time data, close collaboration and a commitment to constant improvement, these communities are striving toward functional zero. This means that homelessness in a community is rare, brief and non-recurring. On a monthly basis, a community is able to quickly house anyone entering homelessness for the first time and ensure that they remain housed.


With the support of the Rocket Community Fund and the hard work of organizations across the country dedicated to ending homelessness, Built for Zero communities are seeing incredible progress. Since 2015, Built for Zero communities have helped house more than 168,000 people and 14 communities have achieved functional zero for at least one population.

Homelessness is solvable: How The Rocket Community Fund is supporting the 'Built for Zero' movement
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The Rocket Community Fund is particularly proud of the work that it has supported in its hometown of Detroit, which has made significant strides in reducing veteran homelessness. Since joining the Built for Zero movement in 2018, the Rocket Community Fund’s support has helped Detroit reduce the number of unhoused veterans by 57 percent.

As part of its support, the Rocket Community Fund has also made impactful direct investments, such as the conversion of a former homelessness shelter into permanent supportive housing. The building, known as 211 Glendale, now offers 60 permanent supportive housing units for veterans. These units include kitchenettes, upgraded fixtures and renovated common areas that meet veterans’ needs.

Former U.S. Army Veteran Freddie Tucker describes his new apartment at 211 Glendale as a blessing.

“When I was in the shelter, I wouldn’t go check in until it was dark,” explained Mr. Tucker. “When I would get off work, I would go to the park and park my car and just sit. But here, when I get off work, I come straight home because I have somewhere I want to be.”

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It’s not only funding that the Rocket Community Fund is providing. Rocket Companies technology team members also stepped up for a special volunteer project to build a unique Homeless Resource Locator tool to help people experiencing homelessness more quickly identify where they can get help. This tool, which is now being used by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, is another example of how innovative thinking can lead to progress on what is perceived to be a hopeless problem.

The Rocket Community Fund remains committed to eradicating homelessness, not only in Detroit, but across the nation through the Built for Zero movement – and they want all of us to join them. As Community Solutions explains, “shifting our collective understanding about homelessness is critical to ending it.” We need to start telling a different story about homelessness: one rooted in compassion for the unhoused and a steadfast belief that homelessness is solvable.

Homelessness is solvable: How The Rocket Community Fund is supporting the 'Built for Zero' movement
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