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

Elevating New Voices to End Homelessness

It’s been remarkable to watch the impact that social media has had in the arena of homelessness.  

It’s been remarkable to watch the impact that social media has had in the arena of homelessness.  Not only have Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube become venues for raising awareness about this issue among large numbers of viewers and readers, but those venues have also become sites at which people who are homeless can find support, links to services, and a powerful on-line community.  There is even a site where people who are homeless can learn how to access and use social media tools for themselves, and become Twitterers, bloggers, and Facebookers.  

Mark Horvath, who was once homeless himself, has turned his own media savvy background into a powerful force for change.  More than anyone else, he stands at the center of the energy and movement towards harnessing the tools of social media to sharpen America’s focus on homelessness.  Using the inspirational Twitter handle of @hardlynormal, Mark is the prolific author and producer of hundreds of videos featuring the faces and voices of people who are homeless, as well as regular blogs and a continuous stream of Tweets.

Last week, Mark visited the Gates Foundation, gave a talk to our Communications Team about social media, and then asked me to stand with him in front of his camera to talk with him about our work here to end family homelessness in the Pacific Northwest.  Here’s a link to that interview, along with Mark’s blog on Huffington Post Impact.

Watching Mark at work gives me hope and leaves me optimistic – not only about raising awareness about homelessness among sometimes unlikely audiences, but about the real opportunity we have in front of us to actually end homelessness in communities across our nation.

David_Wertheimer_2012a.jpgDavid Wertheimer is the Deputy Director of the Pacific Northwest Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, as well as the Board Chair of Funders Together to End Homelessness. Find him at @DavidWSeattle.

This article originally appeared on the Gates Foundation’s Impatient Optimists Blog.


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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