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

Good News from Capitol Hill for Federal Homelessness Programs

The Department of Housing & Urban Development’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants may get an increase for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Those of us working to prevent and end homelessness were heartened by last week’s announcement that the U.S. Senate is proposing the largest one-year increase to the Department of Housing & Urban Development’s (HUD) McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants in nearly 20 years.

Specifically, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $2.15 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs in 2013, which―although $80 million short of the President Obama’s budget request―represents an increase of $245 million over 2012.  This figure includes $286 million for the Emergency Solutions Grant program.

The fact that the Senate proposed this increase despite the budget-slashing mood on Capitol Hill is a great testament to all the hard work and advocacy done by groups and individuals across the country.  Funders Together to End Homelessness was pleased to have a part in these efforts by contacting Members of Congress by mail, email, and through in-person visits on the Hill.

Our message was clear:  We believe that that federal government is on the right track with its focus on data-driven, outcomes-based initiatives that seek to end―not just manage―homelessness.  In fact, funders across the country have helped support efforts around prevention, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing—all of which are laid out in the federal HEARTH Act and which expand the emphasis of Homeless Assistance Grants on proven, cost-effective solutions.

Funders Together to End Homelessness strongly endorses and is committed to supporting the efforts of the federal government to prevent and end homelessness as outlined in the HEARTH Act, but we know that continued funding is crucial.  Our members, who themselves have collectively granted hundreds of millions of dollars toward ending homelessness, look forward to continuing to work in communities across the country  on solutions that have proven to be both effective and efficient.

As this legislation moves forward―next to the House of Representatives― Funders Together to End Homelessness calls on Members of Congress to further strengthen their commitment by funding the full amount of $2.231 billion as proposed by President Obama. This would allow us to make additional progress on implementation of the HEARTH Act―and toward truly ending homelessness in America.


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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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