Adult Homelessness - Built for Zero Initiative

Spokane County is one of 89 communities participating in Built for Zero

Our Work

Built for Zero : A movement of more than 80 cities and counties working to solve homelessness, one population at a time.

Built for Zero is a methodology, a movement, and proof of what is possible.  Spokane County United Way joined the collaborative which is made up of more than 80 cities and counties that have committed to measurably ending homelessness, one population at a time. Using data, communities have changed how local homeless response systems work and the impact they can achieve. Fourteen of the collaborative communities have ended homelessness for a population by reaching a standard called functional zero. More than half have achieved reductions in the number of people experiencing chronic and veteran homelessness.

The Built for Zero work expands on Spokane County United Way's Anchor Community Initiative work that focuses on our unhoused youth.

Built For Zero local homelessness graph



A community has achieved functional zero for veteran homelessness when there are fewer veterans experiencing homelessness than can be routinely housed in a month, with a minimum threshold of three.


A community has ended chronic homelessness when the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness is zero, or if not zero, than either three people or .1% of the total number of individuals reported in the most recent point-in-time count, whichever is greater.

Current Work

Centralized Diversion Fund

  • Diversion (or housing problem-solving) is a person-centered and strengths-based approach that assists an individual or household to quickly secure a permanent or temporary housing solution outside of the homeless response system. Diversion is explored with people who are experiencing homelessness or are in unstable/unsafe situations through creative brainstorming with the household to identify solutions that meet their unique needs. It is a short-term intervention focused on identifying immediate, safe housing arrangements, often utilizing conflict resolution and mediation skills. Providers who are trained in the techniques of diversion will engage in solutions-focused conversations with people to offer tailored and flexible strategies that may be coupled with minimal financial assistance when needed.
    • Pairing diversion with a flexible funding source allows providers who are working to divert clients the ability to access funds when the identified housing solution requires some financial assistance. Through this approach, Function Zero Initiatives will pair diversion strategies with a Centralized Diversion Fund (CDF) which will allow agencies in the community to have access to one, centrally-managed pool of money that is allocated based on active By Name List.
    • Examples of funds requested: Move in costs, past rental debt/collections, application fees, plane/bus tickets to a permanent housing location, utilities/food cost support for living with friend or family member, etc.

Case Conferencing

Community providers meet on a bi-weekly basis for a population specific conversation on how to move individuals from identification to housing. This innovative and collaborative approach allows for providers to share expertise and leverage relationships with clients to best meet the needs of a client as well as identifying common system barriers or bottlenecks. Our Veterans group meets on the first and third week of the month and prioritizes Chronically Homeless Veterans. Our Single Adults group meets the second and forth week of the month and currently prioritizes individuals experiencing Chronic and unsheltered Homelessness

Landlord Engagement

With tight rental market Spokane is experiencing, BFZ is working with providers to get creative with identifying and engaging landlords willing to rent to people who have experienced homelessness or individuals with housing subsidies. This group is working to identify common barriers, develop relationships with landlords and create incentives in order to utilize available housing vouchers and move individuals into permanent housing.