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

A Message on the Release of ‘Opening Doors’

Opening Doors is a landmark in the history of fighting homelessness.

Opening Doors is a landmark in the history of fighting homelessness.

For the first time the federal government has gone on the record with a long term commitment to ending homelessness. The plan reinforces this commitment by including timetables and specific ways to measure progress on an annual basis.

Opening Doors calls for accelerating the creation of permanent supportive and affordable housing for those who are chronically homeless, for homeless veterans and for homeless families with children. It also calls for improving access to health care, employment services and economic opportunity that undergird housing stability.

To accomplish its objectives, Opening Doors calls for an unprecedented level of collaboration among the agencies and departments of the federal government. The partnering embodied in this plan is a model that can be followed by public and private sectors on the state and local levels.

Those of us in philanthropy hope that such partnering across agencies will lead to significant efficiencies and lasting systems change. If the assumptions embodied in this plan take hold and grow, the ultimate result will be that vulnerable individuals and families in America will be able to access critical mainstream housing and human services.

The plan follows a template that is based on more than twenty years of investment by foundations in social innovations like permanent supportive housing and family homeless interventions that have proven so effective. These foundations, collaborating in a national affinity group, Funders Together, are working in communities across America to make the goals in this plan a reality.

By taking evidence based practices to scale, we will not only end homelessness, we will change systems that can lead to a leaner, more strategic, more effective government on every level.

And, of course, by becoming better at delivering housing, services, employment training, and education we increase opportunities for adults and children to become productive and contributing citizens who build strong communities and a stronger America.

Bob Hohler is Chair of the Board of Funders Together to End Homelessness and Executive Director of Melville Charitable Trust.

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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