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

Homelessness In San Francisco

On June 29, San Francisco media outlets are coordinating coverage to shine a light on homelessness in the city. We applaud this effort and hope to help shed a light, not only in San Francisco but nationally, on the real issue: access to safe and affordable housing.

At Funders Together to End Homelessness, it is the mission of our members to end and prevent homelessness through systemic change and proven solutions, like housing.

Ideas to consider when thinking about homelessness and housing in San Francisco and across the country

1. Solutions: Housing First models such as Rapid Re-Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing work:

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) assists people who experiencing homelessness chronically and may also suffer from illnesses, disabilities, mental health issues, or substance use disorders. It provides long-term rental assistance and supportive services.

Rapid re-housing assists a wide arrange of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The goal of this model is to help people obtain housing quickly and stay housed. It provides short-term rental assistance along with supportive services, such as rent and move-in assistance and case management.

  • Permanent Supportive Housing has a long-term housing retention rate of up to 98% in one study.
  • Rapid re-housing helps people exit homelessness quickly and remain houses – various studies have found between 75 to 91% remain housed a year after being rapidly re-housed.
  • One study found an average cost savings on emergency services (i.e. shelters) of $31,545 per person housed in a Housing First program over the course of two years. (Source)

2. Collaborations: Funders working together as a network is an effective and efficient way to enact change.

3. Partnership: Philanthropy, as well as the government, cannot do it alone. Private dollars can push and leverage public funding, and building a strong public-private partnership throughout the community can influence and effectively create systems change.

  • In San Diego, the group of funders was able to leverage $240,000 into $10 million of public funding to support the operational expense of to create permanent supportive and convert existing transitional housing.

  • The Funders Together to End Homelessness – Los Angeles chapter has more than thirty funder members who meet quarterly to learn about and discuss new solutions to homelessness in LA County.  Many of these members are also part of Los Angeles County’s Home For Good Funders Collaborative, led by the local United Way.  Between 2012 and 2015 the Funders Collaborative aligned over $650 million in public and philanthropic resources toward permanent solutions to homelessness in Los Angeles County and will release awards for 2016 in the coming months. 

  • In Houston, Funders Together members are part of The Way Home, a collaborative made up of private-public partnerships utilizing community-wide strategies to end and prevent homelessness. The 2016 Point-In-Time Count showed The Way Home continuing a five-year trend in reducing homelessness - a 57% decrease since 2011.

  • In King County, The Raikes Foundation spearheaded a collaboration of private and public funders who are focused on preventing and ending youth homelessness. Through this collaboration, almost $5 million in private-public funds have been dedicated to the cause.

  • In the counties surrounding Seattle, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works with government and nonprofit partners to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time. Since its conception in 2005, this partnership, All Home, has been instrumental in creating 8,337 units of permanent housing of which 85% of the people housed were stabilized there for almost two years.

4. People first: At Funders Together, we stress the importance of being "people first", therefore we say "people/person/family/youth experiencing homelessness" instead of "the homeless" or "homeless person". We believe that experiencing homelessness should not define a person and encourage you to also put people first when talking about this topic.

Resources on solutions that work to end and prevent homelessness

Resources on general homelessness information

Messaging Guide for Funders

Funders can have a strong influence in the community. Use your voice and influence to spread key messages around ending homelessness through out the online community as well! 

Our Messaging Guide for Funders provides sample tweets and Facebook posts that you can share on your social media pages. You can edit to fit your foundation’s voice and provide links to articles, case studies, research papers that support how housing-based solutions work to end homelessness.

Available Experts

We are happy to connect with you with experts that can help inform your articles who are all ready and willing to speak with you on any of the above thoughts. Our Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Lauren Bennett, can be reached at 617-245-0314 x107 or you can call their offices directly:

  • Amanda Andere, Funders Together CEO: 703-966-5726 (cell)
  • Bill Pitkin, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation: 818-851-3721 (Communications Director: Marc Moorghen)
  • David Wertheimer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: 206-902-7181 (Communications Lead: Anne Martens)
  • Janice Elliott, Melville Charitable Trust: 203-901-1065 x108 (Communications Manager: Bonnie Rosenbaum) 
  • Bill Major, The Zarrow Family Foundations

Funders Together Overview

Funders Together to End Homelessness is a national network of over 175 foundations and United Ways dedicated to ending and preventing all forms of homelessness by supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions. Funders Together promotes a catalytic approach to philanthropy that goes beyond effective grant-making to active civic engagement in solving homelessness. Membership is open to all funders currently engaged or interested in funding homelessness or related areas. Funders Together, an approved 501(c)(3), is based in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.FundersTogether.org.

Question/Interview Requests

If you have questions about a resource or where to find additional information, or would like to schedule time to talk with our CEO or a Funders Together member, please contact Lauren Bennett, Communications & Public Affairs Manager at lauren@funderstogether.org or 617.245.0314 x107. You may also reach out to our available experts directly at the numbers listed above.


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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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