A statement from Funders Together to End Homelessness on Dr. Ben Carson's confirmation as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Funders Together to End Homelessness congratulates Dr. Ben Carson on his confirmation as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary. We look forward to working with Secretary Carson, the new Administration, and Congress to ensure that homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time.
We believe that philanthropy has a voice in this important undertaking and are determined to make achieving better outcomes for those experiencing homelessness a bipartisan priority. In order to end and prevent homelessness, we need adequate and affordable housing as well as appropriate income and employment opportunities. We must also work to prevent the next generation of homelessness by creating opportunities for our young people to live successfully in our communities.
Homelessness funding from philanthropy totals over $305 million and pales in comparison to government dollars which consists of more than $5 billion, so we are encouraged by Secretary Carson’s commitment to “advocate internally for funding” with the President’s infrastructure package as well as his promise to “call for continued investments to end homelessness for veterans, the chronically homelessness, and children and families” as he indicated in his confirmation hearing and written responses prior to the hearing. He also cited support for programs that utilized Housing First practices and acknowledged continuing the important work of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), which currently is due to sunset in October 2017. These are areas in which philanthropy can and should be a fundamental partner to the Administration’s work in its efforts.
Public-private partnerships between government and philanthropy are key components to maximizing the impact of resources and ensuring that programs are tailored to the needs and unique populations of each community. Through these partnerships, private dollars can push and leverage public funding, and building strong programs throughout communities can positively influence and effectively create systems change.
Because of its role as an influencer and convener, philanthropy also has a unique perspective of the community and what works to prevent and end homelessness locally. This viewpoint allows for a strengthened partnership with the government which can significantly extend the reach and impact of federal programs while meeting the unique needs of the various local communities they serve.
HUD has a long history in partnering with other essential departments through the work of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), which has been a key player and partner in these efforts and our hope is that this will continue under Secretary Carson’s leadership. At Funders Together, we and our 200 members are willing and ready to partner in order to provide guidance and direction. We urge Secretary Carson and the new Administration to utilize Funders Together members’ expertise, dedication, and influence to further understand and advance the movement to end homelessness in communities across the nation.