The City of Rockford Department of Human Services announced that the City has been recognized as the first community in the national ‘Zero: 2016’ movement to effectively end homelessness among local veterans.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Veteran Affairs and the national nonprofit agency, Community Solutions, on hand at a news conference Tuesday to recognize the Forest City.

Rockford was also recognized for successfully completing the ‘Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness,’ an initiative led by First Lady Michelle Obama. The ‘Mayors Challenge’ calls upon mayors and other state and local leaders across the country to implement strategies necessary to end homelessness among all veterans within their communities by the end of 2015.

Rockford has attained functional zero when it comes to area veteran homelessness. Functional zero is reached when, at any point in time, the number of veterans experiencing literal homelessness, both on the streets and in shelters, is no greater than the city’s monthly veteran housing placement rate.

Rockford has housed a total of 73 veterans to date. To remain at functional zero, Rockford must have no more than eight homeless veterans awaiting housing and any new homeless veteran housed within 30 days.

“I am extremely proud of our local Continuum of Care, whose members have worked together to accomplish the goal of ending chronic veteran homelessness in our community,” said Mayor Larry Morrissey. “I am committed to using this positive accomplishment and the management lessons learned across a broad spectrum of social and economic challenges facing our community.”

The City will continue its strategies to tackle its next goal: ending chronic homelessness by the end of 2016.