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

Funders Together Statement on Confirmation of Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development

A statement from Funders Together to End Homelessness on Dr. Ben Carson's confirmation as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Funders Together to End Homelessness congratulates Dr. Ben Carson on his confirmation as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary. We look forward to working with Secretary Carson, the new Administration, and Congress to ensure that homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time.

We believe that philanthropy has a voice in this important undertaking and are determined to make achieving better outcomes for those experiencing homelessness a bipartisan priority. 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.

Homelessness funding from philanthropy totals over $305 million and pales in comparison to government dollars which consists of more than $5 billion, so we are encouraged by Secretary Carson’s commitment to “advocate internally for funding” with the President’s infrastructure package as well as his promise to “call for continued investments to end homelessness for veterans, the chronically homelessness, and children and families” as he indicated in his confirmation hearing and written responses prior to the hearing. He also cited support for programs that utilized Housing First practices and acknowledged continuing the important work of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), which currently is due to sunset in October 2017. These are areas in which philanthropy can and should be a fundamental partner to the Administration’s work in its efforts.

Public-private partnerships between government and philanthropy are key components to maximizing the impact of resources and ensuring that programs are tailored to the needs and unique populations of each community. Through these partnerships, private dollars can push and leverage public funding, and building strong programs throughout communities can positively influence and effectively create systems change.

Because of its role as an influencer and convener, philanthropy also has a unique perspective of the community and what works to prevent and end homelessness locally. This viewpoint allows for a strengthened partnership with the government which can significantly extend the reach and impact of federal programs while meeting the unique needs of the various local communities they serve.  

HUD has a long history in partnering with other essential departments through the work of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), which has been a key player and partner in these efforts and our hope is that this will continue under Secretary Carson’s leadership. At Funders Together, we and our 200 members are willing and ready to partner in order to provide guidance and direction. We urge Secretary Carson and the new Administration to utilize Funders Together members’ expertise, dedication, and influence to further understand and advance the movement to end homelessness in communities across the nation.

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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