Recently, an opinion piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy asked a question vital to the mission of Funders Together: As social needs mount, how can philanthropy best alleviate homelessness?
Recently, an opinion piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy asked a question vital to the mission of Funders Together: As Social Needs Mount, How Can Philanthropy Best Alleviate Homelessness? Our members ask themselves a similar question every day, and the job of Funders Together is to help them share their best practices in funding homelessness—with other funders, with non-profit partners, with policymakers, with the media, and with the public. Some examples:
- The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is working to make permanent supportive housing a reality for the more than 10,000 chronically homeless people in Los Angeles County. National studies show that chronically homeless people—18 percent of the overall homeless population—consume 64 percent of homeless system resources. A wide body of research shows that permanent supportive housing—which combines quality affordable housing with comprehensive support services― is the best, most cost-effective solution to chronic homelessness.
- In three counties in Washington state, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which has pledged to reduce family homelessness in the state by 50% over 10 years), the Campion Foundation, and several other funding partners are supporting innovative pilot programs to help stabilize homeless families with children as well as those struggling to pay mortgages or rent before they lose their homes. The pilot programs will focus on five critical principles: early intervention and prevention (including eviction prevention, landlord mediation, emergency assistance for food, clothing, child care, and transportation); coordinated access to support services (streamlining efforts to help families access the services they need); rapid re-housing (minimizing stays in emergency shelters and quickly placing them in permanent housing); tailored programs to meet unique family circumstances and needs; and increased economic opportunity to maintain housing stability.
- The supportive housing model is also at the center of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s homelessness efforts. The Foundation recently announced the dramatic results of its “Keeping Families Together” pilot program, which combined affordable housing with customized case management services for homeless families at high-risk of having their children removed to foster care. An independent evaluation found that participating families were much more stable at the end of the pilot program than were comparison families not enrolled in the program. The families achieved: 90% housing retention, 61% closure of child welfare cases, and improvements in parental substance use outcomes and children’s school attendance. Further, the program found that reductions in foster care and shelter use offset 97% of the cost of supportive housing.
Funders Together is dedicated to gathering evidence on effective solutions and sharing it with those interested in solving homelessness. If you want to learn more or have stories to share about best practices in funding homelessness, please join us. We can end homelessness―together.
As Executive Director of Funders Together, Anne brings years of expertise in both the corporate and not-for-profit sector. She is passionate about promoting the philanthropic community’s catalytic role in ending homelessness, working with government to create public-private partnerships, and advocating for funding and policies which end, rather than manage, homelessness.
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