Recently, a few of us from Funders Together to End Homelessness sat down with Rick Cohen, national correspondent for the Non-Profit Quarterly. The topic: Can philanthropy help to end homelessness?
Recently, a few of us from Funders Together to End Homelessness sat down with Rick Cohen, national correspondent for the Non-Profit Quarterly. The topic: Can philanthropy help to end homelessness? The result: Rick posted the following thoughtful commentary on his NPQ blog. We think it’s worth a read. Thanks Rick!
Can Foundations Eradicate Homelessness? By Investing in Systems Change and Housing First, According to the Funders Together to End Homelessness Affinity Group
Can foundations end homelessness? The affinity group Funders Together to End Homelessness believes that the problem of homelessness-chronic homelessness-can be solved, if done the right way, according to Funders Together’s executive director, Anne Miskey. In the midst of all of the Council on Foundations workshops, we were fortunate to find a moment to have a conversation with Anne, her communications director, Teri Larson, and three core foundation leaders in the affinity group: Bill Pitkin of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, David Wertheimer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Bob Hohler of the Melville Charitable Trust (Bob won the Council’s 2009 Distinguished Grantmaker award).
How can foundations “end homelessness”? Not on their own, for sure, but by providing catalytic investments, as Wertheimer said, to provoke change in the homeless shelter and housing system in localities. It requires a systems approach, one that moves government and nonprofits from simply “managing the homeless” to changing the system.
The concept that they all advocate is “Housing First,” the idea that putting people into housing rather than having them cycled through and managed in a shelter system results in better outcomes for the chronically homeless.