Homeless Denver

An unidentified man drags his belongings away during a sweep of homeless people who were living on sidewalks near Coors Fieldin Denver on Nov. 15, 2016. 

Eight counties outside of metro Denver are joining a data-driven initiative to reduce homelesness — an initiative to which Kaiser Permanente announced a $500,000 donation.

Fremont, Mesa, El Paso, Pitkin, Garfield, Eagle, Larimer and Weld counties are among the now-84 communities from New Hampshire to Hawaii participating in Built for Zero.

Built for Zero describes itself as “a methodology, a movement and proof of what is possible.” The initiative’s objective is reducing homelessness to “functional zero,” a concept that applies differently to different populations, but essentially aspires for incidents of homelessness to be rare and brief.

A Kaiser representative told Denverite that donations to separate homelessness prevention efforts could be “less effective than a group collaborating.”

Built for Zero, in its fifth year, announced this summer that it is helping Phoenix reach functional zero homelessness among veterans. A group agency representatives met weekly to review “by-name lists” of every individual experiencing homelessness.

“Collaboration with different actors — like the [Veterans Affairs Department] — allowed the team to include critical information like how long the individual was in service and their eligibility for different types of federal programs aimed at supporting veterans,” Built for Zero reported.

Metro Denver’s jurisdictions have been involved with the program since close to its inception in 2015.

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