ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The West Texas Homeless Network announced Wednesday that Abilene has achieved what they call “functional zero homelessness.”
“Abilene, Texas has become the fourth community in the nation to achieve functional end to chronic homelessness,” says Mayor Anthony Williams.
What does chronic homelessness mean?
“Chronic homelessness is defined as homelessness that exists over a long period of time for an individual household,” says Rosten Callarman, Coalition Coordinator for West Texas Homeless Network.
Long-term homelessness refers to someone who is homeless for at least 12 consecutive months or a total of 12 months, 4 separate instances in a course of 3 years.
“You are national leaders. To date you have sustained an end to chronic homelessness,” says Callarman.
Several groups came together to achieve this goal.
“I work with a lot of communities across the U.S. that also work in homelessness services. We’re very blessed to have a mayor that supports the work we do and wants to be a part of that,” says Katharine Bisson, Executive Director of Abilene Hope Haven.
Although this is a major accomplishment, the work isn’t finished just yet.
“What’s the next mountain that this group has chosen to take on? It is functional zero for homelessness among youth and families,” says Mary Cooksey, program director for 2-1-1 A Call for Help, United way of Abilene.
It’s a task no city in the nation has completed.
“One definition that’s through the McKinney-Vento Act and that definition includes youth that are staying with friends or couch surfing or are otherwise sheltered, but just don’t have a stable place to stay,” says Callarman.
“Functional zero” is defined as three or fewer long-term homeless cases in our city.
The ‘by name’ list is monitored and maintained by Abilene Hope Haven.