We believe philanthropy has a voice in addressing homelessness and advancing solutions to prevent and end it with Congress and Presidential administration. As Funders Together to End Homelessness prepares to work with this administration, together with our national partners we are focused on continuing to make preventing and ending homelessness a bi-partisan priority. To accomplish this, we are focused on the following:
This page will serve as a collection of information that will continually be updated with new reports, fact sheets, websites, and other resources that support these priority areas.
1. Housing stability is an issue that affects education, health, and work force development. We believe in expanding the supply of housing, including affordable housing, and strengthen connections of these efforts with others to foster better health, economic mobility, and educational achievement.
- Government funding for programs that affect housing stability is critical as philanthropy cannot do it alone.
- In late March 2018, a budget was passed for FY18 and includes many highlights for the work to end homelessness. Here are some key takeaways from the most recent budget (via the National Alliance to End Homelessness):
- $4.4 billion increase to the ten largest HUD accounts which is the largest one-year increase in the last 20 years.
$130 million increase to HUD Homeless Assistance grants which is estimated to move an additional 20,000-25,000 people into housing.
- Section 8 renewals are fully funded for both project-based Section 8 and vouchers. In addition, there are funds for new "incremental" vouchers: $40 million for HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) for veterans with disabilities experiencing homelessness, $20 million for the Family Unification Program (FUP), and ~$385 million for 811 vouchers for individuals with disabilities.
- $800 million increase to Public Housing
- $400 million increase to HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME)
- $300 million increase to Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
- 12.5% increase in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC)
Read remarks by Steve Berg, National Alliance to End Homelessness, and Sarah Mickelson, National Low Income Housing Coalition, about the FY18 budget and what it means for communities around the country.
- On May 15, the House Appropriations Subcommittee released its draft FY19 spending bill. The draft bill includes:
- Maintaining the 10% increase in HUD funding from the FY18 budget with additional increases for FY19.
- An increase in homeless assistance programs funding from $2.513 billion to $2.546 billion.
- The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) funded at $3.6 million.
- Public housing capital repairs and operating funds level with FY18 dollars at $2.75 billion and $4.55 billion, respectively.
- Funding for the Family Self-Sufficiency program remaining level at $75 million.
- No funding for Family Unification vouchers.Project-Based Rental Assistance facing a $168 million decrease from FY18, lowering funding to $11.347 billion.
- $22.48 billion for tenant-based rental assistance.
- Level funding for both Veterans Affairs Support Housing (VASH) at $40 million.
- Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) level-funded at $3.365 billion and the HOME Investments Partnership program funding decreased to $1.2 billion.
- Read our May Federal Budget Update for a look at some of the budget decisions that impact housing and homelessness, an update on the THUD FY19 Budget proposal, and what philanthropy can do to push for continued and increased funding in housing and homelessness.
- Funders Together has created a Priorities for the New Congress and Administration messaging guide. This document reflects 2017-2018 messaging but is in the process of being updated with FY19 language. However, it can still be used to understand how we plan to lift up philanthropy's voice, role, and influence. It can also be used as a messaging guide for your own advocacy efforts. Download the Word document here for easy editing. Check back soon as we will be updating this as we learn more.
2. Early intervention that stops the cycle of homelessness and poverty is critical for youth and young adults.
- As a founding member of A Way Home America we believe the following transition priorities will be critical to systems change needed to provide a more stable future to our youth. The A Way Home America Transition Plan identifies actions and strategies necessary to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness. The Transition Plan is intended to inform the next Presidential Administration, federal appointees, and members of congress on our collective goals to end youth and young adult homelessness.
3. Strengthening the connections between employment services and homelessness services to both prevent homelessness and ensure that exits from homelessness are permanent, stable, and successful.
4. An accurate census count is essential to our efforts to prevent and end homelessness and the fair dispersal of funding for people and areas that need it most.
As a funder, how can you take action?
If you are a public foundation or United Way and can engage in direct lobbying, here are some action steps you can take:
- Sign up for the National Alliance to End Homelessness’s Advocacy Updates and take action by contacting public officials. Feel free to use the Priorities for the New Congress and Administration Messaging Guide for language around public-private partnerships and modify it to fit your foundation’s message.
- You can also participate in non-lobbying advocacy efforts. See examples below.
If you are unable to partake in direct lobbying efforts, here are some advocacy efforts you can participate in:
- Consider facilitating conversations between your grantees and public officials. Use your convening power to host a philanthropy-led bipartisan town hall where grantees can talk about their work and philanthropy can feature the nature of its investment and how philanthropic dollars can’t be expected to “fill the gap”.
- Write targeted op-eds in key communities. Philanthropy’s voice is important when talking about public-private partnerships. Highlighting work being done in key areas can have a ripple effect and educate community members and public officials alike. If you are interested, contact Funders Together and we can identify these key communities and assist with your op-ed strategy.
- Fund small emergency advocacy grants. Consider asking grantees about how a small emergency advocacy grant could be used to help with their efforts around strategy, communications, or grassroots engagement.
Learn more about the "Cans" and "Cannots" of being a funder involved in advocacy and lobbying efforts and get more ideas of action steps you can take through our "Advocacy - A Funder's Role" webinar.
If you have any questions regarding our transition priorities, or have a resource to share, please feel free to contact Amanda Andere at email@example.com.
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.
We support Opening Doors, the Federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.
1. To end homelessness, start with a home.
For families and individuals living in deep poverty, housing costs are the single most expensive item in the household budget. Nearly all pay more than half of their incomes for rent. This leaves limited resources available for food, clothing, child care, and other essentials. The loss of a job, an unexpected illness, or a family crisis can all too easily push a family into homelessness. Far too many children are sleeping in shelters.
At the federal, state, and local levels, we call for an aggressive, bipartisan push by government, working in tandem with the private sector, to:
Make rental homes affordable to more people by expanding the supply of rental housing subsidies. Rental assistance is a cost-effective, evidenced-based practice that is highly effective in reducing homelessness. It is the fastest way to make homes affordable to the greatest number of people with the lowest incomes. Currently, only one in four households eligible for rental assistance actually receives it.
Expand the supply of affordable rental homes by directing low-cost capital resources to the production and preservation of decent, safe rental housing. Pair capital investments with rental subsidies to ensure housing units are within the reach of households most vulnerable to homelessness. At the federal level, fully fund the National Housing Trust Fund and preserve the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.
Increase access to private market and public housing rental units by people experiencing homelessness and people with disabilities. Create unit set-asides within state- or city-financed multifamily housing.
Expand supportive housing options by increasing funding for services. The most successful intervention for ending and preventing chronic homelessness is linking housing to appropriate support services. Supportive housing ends the cycle of frequent and inappropriate use of expensive social supports and institutional care that people with complex needs cannot break while homeless.
2. Open pathways to meaningful and stable employment to prevent homelessness
We believe that our communities are stronger when everyone who wants to work can find a job. To this end, we must broaden opportunities for jobs, job training, and income growth so that people who are facing high barriers to employment, including people who have experienced homelessness, can effectively participate in the labor market.
We call for aggressive efforts by government at the federal, state, and local levels, working in tandem with the private sector, to:
Level the playing field by creating and adopting performance measures, under the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA), to Workforce Boards aimed at effectively serving clients with high barriers to work.
Increase the capacity of local workforce systems and other systems to effectively respond to the diverse work histories, education levels, and personal circumstances that people with high barriers to work present, so that they are connected to a spectrum of career pathways, training, and pre-training opportunities. Improve the way education, job readiness, training, placement, private employers, and support organizations work together to reduce barriers to employment for low-skilled workers. Share and disseminate best practices and successful programs, and create stronger connections between workforce systems and homeless service systems to reduce barriers to accessing employment services.
- Strengthen social enterprises that are successful in helping people who have experienced homelessness prepare for, find, and keep decent paying jobs within thriving industries.
3. Prevent a new generation from becoming homeless.
In every community, young people run away from home, are kicked out, exit the juvenile justice system with nowhere to go, become orphans, and/or exit the child welfare system with no supports to enable successful transitions to adulthood.
We call for action at the federal and state levels to:
Extend foster care to age 21 or beyond in all states, and ensure that all young people aging out of care have the opportunity to maintain safe housing until age 21 and beyond. Effectively use the period from age 18-21 to support young people in developing permanent relationships, pursuing educational and employment opportunities, securing housing, and developing skills to prepare them to live successfully in the community once they leave care.
- Reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, which provides three different grants to communities so they can reach out to homeless youth on the streets and provide emergency housing with crisis intervention, basic life necessities, family interventions, and when necessary, longer-term housing options, including Maternity Group Homes.
If you have any questions about our 2015 Policy Platform, please contact Anne Miskey.
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