National Data and Resources
Understanding Encampments of People Experiencing Homelessness and Community Responses: Emerging Evidence as of Late 2018
HUD Office of Policy Development and Research
June 20, 2019
This paper documents what is known about homeless encampments as of late 2018, based on a review of the limited literature produced by academic and research institutions and public agencies, supplemented by interviews with key informants.
Exploring the Crisis of Unsheltered Homelessness
National Alliance to End Homelessness
June 20, 2018
The National Alliance to End Homelessness launched their Unsheltered blog series, which explores trends, data, and interventions related to unsheltered homelessness.
2018 AHAR: Part 1 - PIT Estimates of Homelessness in the U.S.
Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) releases the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR) in two parts. Part 1 provides Point-inTime (PIT) estimates, offering a snapshot of homelessness—both sheltered and unsheltered— on a single night, including breakdowns by age, gender, and race/ethnicity.
Tools, Policies & Templates for Addressing Unsheltered Homelessness
These documents were developed by CSH, based on materials created by Project HOME and the City of Philadelphia, as open source documents for use by any community, agency or organization without attribution to the authors required.
Tent City, USA: The Growth of America’s Homeless Encampments and How Communities are Responding
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
This report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (“the Law Center”) documents the apparent rapid growth of encampments of people experiencing homelessness or “tent cities” across the United States and the legal and policy responses to that growth.
Local Resources and Research
Report on City of Seattle and King County Building New Regional Homelessness Response System
The City of Seattle and King County are committed to ending homelessness. In August of 2018, they partnered with Future Laboratories to launch a community-driven process of listening and, ultimately, designing a stronger regional response.
This website captures the results of this collaborative journey and lays out 10 Actions necessary to move forward. In 2019, dozens of partners across the region will come together to build a regional Homelessness Response System that can achieve greater levels of equity and impact.
California is Moving People into Sheds – But Is It Right?
This article highlights unsheltered homelessness in Oakland where encampments are being removed by authorities and police. A controversial “tuff shed” experiment, which involves housing homeless people in makeshift structures that resemble basic toolsheds, has taken the place of encampments. Through interviews, this article highlights the flaws in the "Tuff Shed" experiment, while also giving background to encampments in Oakland and to racial inequity's impact on the homeless population.
Principles and Practices for Local Responses to Unsheltered Homelessness: Guidelines for Municipalities
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA)
Street-based homelessness across Los Angeles County creates significant health and safety stressors for the entire community – especially those living on the streets. Strategies to mitigate these stressors must address the concerns of both unsheltered residents and their housed neighbors, as well as share the goal of providing a long-term solution to street-based homelessness. The following policy guidance stems from a recognition of Los Angeles’ unique local context, as well as research into promising practices both locally and nationally.
Funders Together Resources
As part of an ongoing effort to provide support and programming on advocacy, we've compiled resources that can aid you in starting and continuing the conversation in your work to prevent and end homelessness.
Funders can and should be advocates for policies and funding streams that can end and prevent homelessness. Understand the legal restrictions on private foundations’ advocacy efforts with this resource.
While there are numerous policies that may affect homelessness services and prevention, we stand behind these key policy principles.
From Our Members
Campion Foundation - Advocacy Spectrum and Tools
Published by Council on Foundations, this report explains “lobbying” versus networking and includes a step-by-step guide to contacting policymakers.
This report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy discusses best practices and the impact of philanthropic dollars devoted to advocacy.
Funders in Action: An Example of Funder Advocacy
Texas education grantmakers knew that they needed to act when the state government cut $5.4 billion from the education budget in 2011. Funders began seeing the impacts quickly; requests for grants increased dramatically from organizations that used to receive support from public schools and public-private partnerships were in danger of falling apart. In response, funders formed the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC) to push back against the massive spending cuts. Because the group was focused on the budget -- and did not get into political ideologies or education reform debates -- it was able to convene and mobilize an unprecedented number of grantmakers throughout Texas. TEGAC also invested $100,000 in research to help shape the public narrative. The programs affected by the budget cuts were the same programs that studies proved to be effective! In May 2013, the Texas legislature reinstated $4 billion out of the $5.4 billion in education funds. Although TEGAC did not take credit for the restoration of funding, the mobilization of funders and the broad support for advocacy had a tangible statewide impact. Read more about this story here.
Please contact Amanda Andere if you would like to discuss advocacy issues further.
A priority of Funders Together to End Homelessness is to engage philanthropy in addressing racial disparities in housing and homelessness and advancing racial equity. As part of ongoing effort to provide support and programming on equity, we've compiled resources that can aid funders in starting and continuing the conversation around this topic in your work. We will be updating this page with timely resources as they become available, so be sure to check back often!
Upcoming Learning Opportunities
Webinar: Ending Homelessness Means Ending Urban Native Homelessness
Tuesday, August 13 | 1:00pm ET | 12:00pm CT | 11:00am MT | 10:00am PT
During this webinar, we’ll share how the Coalition to End Urban Native Homelessness is partnering with nonprofit and Native organizations, government agencies, tribal leaders, and philanthropic partners to drive long-term systems change. Ending urban Native homelessness requires a culturally competent, collaborative approach, and this webinar will explore how AI/Ans have historically been undercounted and under-resourced, and what funders can do to support ending urban Native homelessness.
This webinar is a continuation of the conversation Colleen will lead at our 2019 Funders Institute on July 22, but this webinar is open to all private funders, United Ways, and PSOs regardless of participation in the Funders Institute.
For more information or to register, visit the webinar page.
- Racial equity
- Structural racism (part I and part II)
- Levels of racism: institutional racism, interpersonal, systemic (cheat sheet, longer descriptions)
- Implicit bias (also this video)
- White privilege (and another resource)
- White fragility (and another article, both by Robin DiAngelo)
- Targeted universalism
- Glossary for Understanding the Dismantling Structural Racism/Promoting Racial Equity Analysis(Aspen Institute)
- Racial Equity Resource Guide Glossary (W.K. Kellogg Foundation)
- Racial Equity Tools Glossary (racialequitytools.org)
- Interaction Institute for Social Change working definitions
Funders Together Resources
Learning Series and Webinars
Race Matters Institute Webinars 1-2 Debrief
Funders Together has been hosting a four-part webinar series, led by Race Matters Institute, that covers a range of tools for understanding the history of racial inequity in homelessness, conducting a racial equity impact analysis, and developing strategies to advance racial equity in your organization. In this video, Stephanie Chan, Director of Membership and Programs, provides a debrief of the first two webinars in the series.
SPARC Phase One Study Findings
In this webinar, Marc Dones and Jeff Olivet provided an overview of the findings from the Phase One Study released in March 2018 and shared what they mean for the field of homelessness.
2019 Funders Institute Past Events page
From July 22-24, 2019, we convened sixty funders in Washington, DC for our annual Funders Institute to learn about removing barriers to advance racial equity from the ground up. Held in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Homelessness, program participants learned about what other funders are doing to advance racial equity, Native homelessness, how to engage in advocacy at the congressional level, and how to support grantees in doing racial equity work.
Resources related to specific conversations are linked on this page.
2019 Funders Institute: Reflections from a Family Foundation Perspective
Marci Lu, Senior Program Officer at the William J. & Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation, attended the first day of the July 2019 Funders Institute, Removing Barriers to Advance Racial Equity from the Ground Up. In this post she outlines key takeaways on how family foundations can support community work that’s advancing racial equity and addressing racial disparities.
Trust Building and the Process of Learning: Reflections from the Foundations for Racial Equity March Convening
On March 6-8, twenty-five funders from across the United States and Canada gathered in Portland, OR to kick off Foundations for Racial Equity (FRE), our two-year community of practice for funders who want to undo structural racism to end homelessness. We came together to learn and share resources on racial equity work in our organizations and communities, identify collective action steps, and build relationships and trust with each other.
Prioritizing Racial Equity Through Experiential Learning
In the summer of 2018 the Butler Family Fund board and staff along with other Butler family members, traveled to Alabama to take their racial equity learning from behind conference room walls to an on-location “classroom” filled with the most qualified teachers – those with lived experience. Funders Together spoke to Martha Toll, Executive Director, and Anne Morin, Program Officer, about the events leading up to the trip, their experience and reactions, and how other foundations can incorporate immersive learning to further their racial equity journey.
2018 Funders Institute: Reflections From The Day
In July at the 2018 Funders Institute, attendees gathered to share what they are learning about homelessness prevention, including what it is and how to work effectively with other systems to really end homelessness. The highly interactive day included a panel discussion, speed networking on what we’re each learning in our work, roundtable discussions, and opportunity to connect with multiple national leaders.
What Funders Are Saying About Racial Equity and Homelessness
On February 7-8, 2018, the Racial Equity and Homelessness Summit convened to address the connection between racial inequity and homelessness with attendees from across the country. Kollin Min, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who co-sponsored the convening with the Raikes Foundation, recaps the highlights of the two-day event and funders who were present share their thoughts, takeaways, and responses to what they learned at the summit.
CEO Reflections II: When Should Philanthropy Lead From Behind?
“How should we respond?” Funders Together CEO, Amanda Andere, asks the question of philanthropy in light of the tragic events in both Charlottesville and Texas in 2017.
An Equity-Based Approach to Fighting Homelessness
What does it mean for philanthropy to make a commitment to equity and its intersection with homelessness? Rosa Benitez of the Weingart Foundation dives in to how her foundation has been answering this question head on.
Why We Must Address Racial Inequity In Our Efforts To End Homelessness
Why is Funders Together to End Homelessness addressing racial inequity? Our CEO, Amanda Andere, explains how philanthropy's involvement in focusing on the structural issues that cause racial inequity can create a path to truly making sure homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time.
Reports, Guides, and Toolkits
Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide
One way to achieve social change in an organization is to incorporate race equity and inclusion at every stage of work. The seven steps in this guide, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, provide a clear framework for undertaking this important work. This tool adds to the resources already created by partners who have been working in the field.
New Resources Help Organizations Advance Race Equity at Every Step
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s seven-step guide, Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide, aims to help organizations advance race equity and eliminate systemic barriers en route to improving the lives of children and families. Now, in partnership with several leaders in race equity, the Foundation has created and compiled a new set of resources focused on helping social-sector organizations navigate every step of this seven-part journey.
Racial Equity and Homelessness in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: Initial Findings
In this report Your Way Home Montgomery County shares the first cut of an analysis of our data, policies and procedures, and
personnel recruitment through a racial equity lens.
Blog Posts and News Articles
Reports, Guides, and Toolkits
American Healing Racial Equity Resource Guide
As part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's American Health work, this guide shares insights, resources and tools of individuals and organizations that have been working to foster racial healing and racial equity in communities.
DEI Toolkit for Consultants to Grantmakers
Guide your philanthropy clients through the complexities of their work in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) with this DEI Toolkit for Consultants to Grantmakers by National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers. Help consultants and grantmakers alike look through issues with a DEI lens. The toolkit consists of key resources recommended by leading experts whose work focuses on DEI and its significant impact in the philanthropic sector.
Integrating Racial Equity in Foundations, Governance, Operations, and Program Strategy
This paper from the Consumer Health Foundation provides an excellent overview of framework for organizing racial equity efforts within philanthropy.
Equity as a Leading Principle
This is Part One of a five-part series titled, “Equity and Evaluation: Models of How Equity Can and Does Impact Evaluation” by the TCC Group.
Racial Equity Network Toolkit
This toolkit from the National Alliance to End Homelessness's Racial Equity Network (REN) helps to identify the following set of existing tools that you might find helpful as you get started in racial equity work in your community.
Report and Recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Black People Experiencing Homelessness
This report summarizing the key insights illuminated by the Los Angele Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) Commission as well as the Committee's recommendations for necessary action to advance equity and eliminate racial disparities impacting Black people experiencing homelessness across Los Angeles County.
The Road to Achieving Equity: Findings and Lessons from a Field Scan of Foundations That Are Embracing Equity as a Primary Focus
This report from Putnam-Consulting Group and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides a look at some of the efforts leading foundations are making, as well as the challenges they face. Based on interviews with 30 foundation leaders, this report explores the ways in which foundations are applying principles of equity within their own operations - from grantmaking, to investments, to human resources.
Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities (SPARC) Phase One Study Findings
New research from SPARC documents that people of color are dramatically more likely than White people to experience homelessness in the US. The message is clear: to end homelessness, we must confront structural racism. The report offers strategies for organizational leaders, researchers, policymakers, and community members.
Why Am I Always Being Researched?
Chicago Beyond created this guidebook to help shift the power dynamic and the way community organizations, researchers, and funders uncover knowledge together. It is an equity-based approach to research that offers one way in which we can restore communities as authors and owners.
Why We Need to Talk About Racism and Family Homelessness
This Powerpoint from the Center for Social Innovation provides important background and data on the connection between racism and homelessness.
Learning Series and Webinars
Putting Grantees at the Center of Philanthropy
This series from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, in partnership with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, focuses on grantee inclusion and provides perspective from both the philanthropic and grantee view on why and how making grantees the center of philanthropy can advance initiatives and help them succeed.
Putting Racism on the Table
In 2016, WRAG launched Putting Racism on the Table, a learning series for philanthropy. The series, from January - June 2016, convened philanthropic CEOs and trustees to learn from experts on the many aspects of racism, including structural racism, white privilege, implicit bias, mass incarceration, and the racial mosaic of this country.
Resources from the series are available on the WRAG website.
Blog Posts and News Articles
Bolder grantmaking: Integrating Racial Equity Impact Assessments in requests for proposals
This blog from the Consumer Health Foundation focuses on the Foundation's revisiting of grantmaking protocols and a new practice to ensure that its investments are truly impacting communities of color.
Kathleen Enright, former President and CEO of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations explains why having conversations around racial equity is critical and will require us to be vulnerable if philanthropy is to succeed in addressing race and making positive changes in their communities.
Homelessness, Racism, and Social Justice
Jeff Olivet, Center for Social Innovation, examines the connection between homelessness, racism, and social justice in this Huffington Post blog post.
How Philanthropy Can Work to Give All Black Men an Opportunity to Succeed
By Tamara Lucas Copeland, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG)
"Non-Racism" Is Not Enough
By Aisha Alexander-Young, Meyer Foundation
Philanthropy and Indian Country
Posted on Philanthropy Northwest, by Se-ah-dom Edmo, MRG Foundation
Philanthropy with a Racial Equity Lens
Posted on the Center for Effective Philanthropy, by Anna Cruz, The Kresge Foundation
Serving Native Women Experiencing Homelessness: From Trauma to Transformation
Posted on the National Alliance to End Homelessness, by Colleen Echohawk, Chief Seattle Club
The Association of Racial and Homelessness Microagressions and Physical and Mental Health in a Sample of Homeless Youth
This article focuses on experiences of microaggressions, or subtle forms of discrimination, in homeless youth by describing the development of a new scale measuring homelessness microaggressions and demonstrating the association between microaggressions, and health/well-being in a sample of homeless youth.
Center for Social Innovation SPARC Initiative
SPARC is an initiative of the Center for Social Innovation in partnership with The Bassuk Center on Homeless and Vulnerable Children & Youth. With support from the Oak Foundation and others, the SPARC team is launching a multi-city initiative to conduct qualitative and quantitative research, hold public discussions and forums, train providers and activists, and collaborate with leadership in systems of housing, health care, education, and criminal justice.
Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity
The Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity provides publications, resources, and programming that can aid as you look to advance racial equity through your foundation. The goal of the initiative is to "increase the amount and effectiveness of resources aimed at combating institutional and structural racism in communities through capacity building, education, and convening of grantmakers and grantseekers."
Unite4Equity is a Change Philanthropy campaign focused on promoting equity in philanthropy as an investment of social and financial resources in policies, practices, and actions that produce equitable access, power, and outcomes for all communities.
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.
In 2016, San Francisco media outlets coordinated their 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.
Ideas to consider when thinking about homelessness across the country
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.
- 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
- National Alliance to End Homelessness San Francisco Homeless Project
- Solutions that Work to End Homelessness
- Improving Housing Outcome with Rapid Re-Housing
- Housing Based Solutions Can End Homelessness
- Family Homelessness 2.0
- Shifting the Focus from Criminalization to Housing
- National Alliance to End Homelessness Housing First Fact Sheet
- Video: Ending Family Homelessness - From Family Homeless Programs to a Crisis Resolution System
- Core Components of Rapid Re-Housing
- Editorial: To End Homelessness, California Must Begin With Housing
Resources on general homelessness information
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.
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 Manager: Julia Friedman)
- Kollin Min, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: 206-770-1645 (Communications Lead: Anne Martens)
- Janice Elliott, Melville Charitable Trust: 203-901-1065 x108 (Communications Manager: Bonnie Rosenbaum)
Funders Together Overview
Funders Together to End Homelessness is a national network of 200 foundations and United Ways dedicated to ending and preventing all forms of homelessness by supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions. Funders Together works to expand philanthropy’s impact and influence to advance the movement to prevent and end 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 a virtually based in organization. For more information, visit www.FundersTogether.org.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.245.0314 x107. You may also reach out to our available experts directly at the numbers listed above.
Another budget cycle is upon us, and philanthropy's involvement in understanding the budget process and how to be participate in the budget debate is key to ensuring programs that work to prevent and end homelessness remain adequately funded. Steve Berg, Vice President for Programs and Policy at the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and Martha Toll, Executive Director at the Butler Family Fund dive into why the budget matters and what to do about it.
Funders Together CEO, Amanda Andere, reflects on the mission and work of philanthropy in this post-election phase and what it means to move forward as a collective group as we all work to prevent and end homelessness under a new administration.Read more
Why is Funders Together to End Homelessness addressing racial inequity? Our CEO, Amanda Andere, explains how philanthropy's involvement in focusing on the structural issues that cause racial inequity can create a path to truly making sure homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time.Read more
On June 23rd, FTEH Board Member David Wertheimer spoke in Orlando, FL, at The Road Home Breakfast gathering of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness. Still reeling from the shock of the deadly attack against the LGBTQ community at the Pulse nightclub that took 49 young lives and wounded 53 others, the city’s officials nonetheless made the decision to move ahead with The Road Home event, which became yet one more step in the long and painful journey to a community’s recovery.Read more