Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Members of the Rochester City Council and Olmsted County Board will meet this afternoon in a rare joint session to discuss the community's response to the homelessness issue.

Officials with both government bodies for the purpose is to develop a city/County consensus regarding a "community purpose to end homelessness in Olmsted County" and an implementation strategy to meet that vision. A presentation to the elected officials proposes a purpose statement that reads: "In Olmsted County, we strive to end homelessness by focusing on prevention, and making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring."

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The presentation calls for a "community vision" that will help the two governments and other agencies to better focus resources to reach a "desired end state" or goal. It describes an option known as the "Built For Zero" framework, which it describes as a movement of community solutions that has been adopted by dozens of cities across the US, including the Twin Cities.

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The presentation also likens Built for Zero to a "recipe" that includes a shared goal or vision, outreach and accountability, real-time data, and the data driven investments. A steering committee is proposing the creation of an Outreach/Accountability Team involving multiple agencies that would meet weekly and review real-time data to identify who is experiencing homelessness in the community, what services they are utilizing, and if there are "clogs" in the system slowing the response.

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The plan would also include the acquisition and repositioning of housing assets, enhanced emergency assistance, and targeted rental assistance. It describes the use of a homeless shelter as a last resort option. The report also stresses that a shelter needs to be located near where both services and transit are available.

Today's presentation calls for the development of a local plan to implement the Built for Zero framework by mid summer. The proposed timeline has the implementation process beginning in August.

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