As coordinator of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, Community Solutions is proud to be partnering with USICH, VA and HUD to lead the national housing pillar of the ambitious new Got Your 6TM Campaign. Last week, in a show of support for veterans and military families, representatives from nearly every major Hollywood production studio, broadcast and cable network, talent agency, and guild in the entertainment industry announced the launch of the Got Your 6™, a new effort to support veterans and foster opportunities for them to contribute their unique skills and abilities in communities across the country. Got Your Six aims to support and empower veterans around six pillars of reintegration, each led by a different group of top-tier non-profits and government agencies.
As a leader in the national housing pillar, the 100,000 Homes Campaign, along with our partnering agencies, has committed to helping communities find permanent housing for 10,000 chronically homeless veterans by July of 2014. This commitment is the backbone of our work with Got Your Six, and the entertainment industry has agreed to put its full resources behind helping us achieve it.
The term, “got your six,” refers to the six o’clock position on a clock face and the rear of a military formation. In military slang, it means something like, “I’ve got your back, and you’ve got mine.” The Got Your Six campaign is about having our veterans’ backs, those returning home and those who completed their service long ago, but it’s also about recognizing the unique contributions they are prepared to make in our society at a time of uncertainty and transition.
To make sure we succeed, we have already begun working with VA to integrate the efforts of regional VA sites and hospitals with leaders from participating 100,000 Homes organizations across the country. We’re also collaborating with USICH, VA and HUD to launch a series of three major training events called Rapid Results Boot Camps. These two-day events bring representatives from community VA sites, housing authorities, outreach agencies and other groups together to evaluate their current approach to housing chronically homeless veterans and encourage them to envision a better system. Participants are put through a variety of hands-on training exercises, team challenges and brainstorming activities before setting an “unreasonable but achievable” goal to house as many homeless veterans as possible in 100 days. Success is defined not only by the number of veterans housed, but also by the speed with which they are housed and the techniques used to house them. The clock starts ticking as soon as they walk out the door. To succeed, they will need to continue in the spirit of teamwork and fresh thinking that begins to develop during their Rapid Results Boot Camp experience.
So far, we have completed Rapid Results Boot Camps in San Diego, CA and Orlando, FL. The final event will take place in Houston in late May. USICH has sent expert staff to each event to serve as faculty and facilitators. Team members like Laura Zeilinger and Amy Sawyer have helped to guide communities through the process of reworking old systems and developing concrete plans to turn their stretch goals into realities.
Through our work together with Got Your Six, we are excited to focus on homelessness among veterans and welcome new allies in effort to see that all veterans have the stable home that they deserve. You can already see some familiar faces (Tom Hanks and Sarah Jessica Parker, to name a few!) supporting Got Your Six at the effort’s Facebook page.
Finally, through Got Your Six, we are thrilled to be working alongside some of the most effective and well-known non-profits and veteran advocacy groups in the country— groups like Blue Star Families, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Pat Tillman Foundation and The Mission Continues. You can see a full list of participating organizations and learn more about Got Your Six by visiting the effort’s website!