A national network of funders supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions to homelessness

Facilitating Philanthropy’s Response to Homelessness

Recently, an opinion piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy asked a question vital to the mission of Funders Together: As social needs mount, how can philanthropy best alleviate homelessness? 

Recently, an opinion piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy asked a question vital to the mission of Funders Together: As Social Needs Mount, How Can Philanthropy Best Alleviate Homelessness? Our members ask themselves a similar question every day, and the job of Funders Together is to help them share their best practices in funding homelessness—with other funders, with non-profit partners, with policymakers, with the media, and with the public. Some examples:

  • The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is working to make permanent supportive housing a reality for the more than 10,000 chronically homeless people in Los Angeles County. National studies show that chronically homeless people—18 percent of the overall homeless population—consume 64 percent of homeless system resources. A wide body of research shows that permanent supportive housing—which combines quality affordable housing with comprehensive support services― is the best, most cost-effective solution to chronic homelessness.

  • In three counties in Washington state, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which has pledged to reduce family homelessness in the state by 50% over 10 years), the Campion Foundation, and several other funding partners are supporting innovative pilot programs to help stabilize homeless families with children as well as those struggling to pay mortgages or rent before they lose their homes. The pilot programs will focus on five critical principles: early intervention and prevention (including eviction prevention, landlord mediation, emergency assistance for food, clothing, child care, and transportation); coordinated access to support services (streamlining efforts to help families access the services they need); rapid re-housing (minimizing stays in emergency shelters and quickly placing them in permanent housing); tailored programs to meet unique family circumstances and needs; and increased economic opportunity to maintain housing stability.

  • The supportive housing model is also at the center of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s homelessness efforts. The Foundation recently announced the dramatic results of its “Keeping Families Together” pilot program, which combined affordable housing with customized case management services for homeless families at high-risk of having their children removed to foster care. An independent evaluation found that participating families were much more stable at the end of the pilot program than were comparison families not enrolled in the program. The families achieved: 90% housing retention, 61% closure of child welfare cases, and improvements in parental substance use outcomes and children’s school attendance. Further, the program found that reductions in foster care and shelter use offset 97% of the cost of supportive housing.

Funders Together is dedicated to gathering evidence on effective solutions and sharing it with those interested in solving homelessness. If you want to learn more or have stories to share about best practices in funding homelessness, please join us. We can end homelessness―together.

anne_miskey.jpgAs Executive Director of Funders Together, Anne brings years of expertise in both the corporate and not-for-profit sector. She is passionate about promoting the philanthropic community’s catalytic role in ending homelessness, working with government to create public-private partnerships, and advocating for funding and policies which end, rather than manage, homelessness.



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We joined Funders Together because we believe in the power of philanthropy to play a major role in ending homelessness, and we know we have much to learn from funders across the country.

-Christine Marge, Director of Housing and Financial Stability at United Way of Greater Los Angeles

I am thankful for the local partnerships here in the Pacific Northwest that we’ve been able to create and nurture thanks to the work of Funders Together. Having so many of the right players at the table makes our conversations – and all of our efforts – all the richer and more effective.

-David Wertheimer, Deputy Director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

-President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Funders Together has given me a platform to engage the other funders in my community. Our local funding community has improved greatly to support housing first models and align of resources towards ending homelessness.

-Leslie Strnisha, Vice President at Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

Our family foundation convenes local funders and key community stakeholders around strategies to end homelessness in Houston. Funders Together members have been invaluable mentors to us in this effort, traveling to our community to share their expertise and examples of best practices from around the nation.

-Nancy Frees Fountain, Managing Director at The Frees Foundation

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