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

2019 Funders Forum

On February 20, 2019, nearly 50 funders convened in San Diego at the 2019 Funders Forum to learn about unsheltered homelessness and building both public and political will to end it. Held in conjunction with the National Alliance to End Homelessness's Solutions for Individual Homeless Adults national conference, attendees had the opportunity to learn about unsheltered homelessness, responses to address unsheltered homelessness from communities across the country, how funders can support the work to end it, and how to build the public and political will to change the system.


For information and resources on unsheltered homelessness, visit our Unsheltered Homelessness Resource page.

Read more about the 2019 Funders Forum in the convening recap by Kristin Williams of the Sherwood Foundation.

Wednesday, February 20

8:30 – 9:00


9:00 – 10:30


  • Janice Elliott, Executive Director of Melville Charitable Trust and board chair of Funders Together to End Homelessness

Framing Remarks

Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, set the stage for the day by talking about single adult and unsheltered homelessness, what we know and don’t know, and the unique challenges and solutions in addressing their homelessness. 

Funder Connections

  • What’s the biggest issue around individual or unsheltered homelessness in your community?   
  • What has been the community’s response? What has been the funder’s response in your community? 

10:30 – 12:00

Keynote: The Urgency to Build Public and Political Will Around Unsheltered Homelessness: What Philanthropy Can Do to Help Make a Stronger Case

Across the country, efforts to address the issues of homelessness and affordable housing are gaining traction. The sheer scale of the challenges facing average Americans in finding decent housing is pushing these issues onto the national and local political agendas. Yet the deals being brokered to address affordable housing, often leave unsheltered populations out in the cold. So, even with this growing momentum, we need more firepower to move helpful policies, investments and programs forward. We need stronger alignment across stakeholders in our communities and we need greater public support. Building public and political will to move transformative solutions forward – especially those that have an equity lens – remains tough.

In this keynote Dr. Tiffany Manuel, an expert in public will building, spoke to the role that philanthropy can play in helping to foster the kind of community alignment and public will building that can help us take advantage of the current momentum in the field. 

Watch a recording of Dr. Manuel's keynote. 

Funder Connections

  • What have you heard that is new, making you wonder, or is something you’re itching to explore further?  
  • What are the implications for how we might need to change our approach in talking about unsheltered homelessness?

12:00 – 1:00


1:00 – 2:30

Ending Unsheltered Homelessness: What Communities are Doing and What Else Needs to be Done

We heard from national leaders and grassroots organizers on what’s happening across the country to address unsheltered communities. We also discussed how to balance crisis response with long-term systems change, types of advocacy or organizing needed, and opportunities funders have that government partners don’t have.

Watch a recording of the panel.

2:30 – 4:00

What Does This Mean for Our Work as Funders?

Funders broke out into groups for a deeper conversation specifically on the tension funders feel in their communities and the appropriate role of funders in responding to a growing crisis while calling for long-term solutions and systems change. This conversation helped participants process what they’ve heard during the day and how funders are thinking about narrative change work to increase affordable housing options.