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

Lessons Learned in Ending Chronic Homelessness

Many positive changes have been made around homelessness in Los Angeles.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation recently published a report detailing the results of its $8 million initiative with Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) from 2004-2010 to seed systems change to help end chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County. The report, Mobilizing Los Angeles County to End Chronic Homelessness, is part of the Foundation’s “In Practice” knowledge series and was authored by national homelessness expert, Martha Burt, who served as evaluator of the initiative. It outlines many positive changes around homelessness in Los Angeles, including: heightened public awareness of the issue, increased accountability and coordination among key stakeholders, and an expanded supply of supportive housing.

Of particular interest to other foundations may be the report’s discussion of the “Elements of Success” – the essential elements to which the Hilton Foundation attributes the success of its homelessness work to date. These elements include:

  • Using a lead agency (in this case, CSH) that is independent, competent, and respected
  • Facilitating local government agencies working together
  • Building local capacity for supportive housing development and operations
  • Expanding funding sources and levels continually
  • Bringing in new constituencies, developing multiple points of influence

Based in part on the lessons of this initiative, in 2010, the Hilton Foundation board approved a more comprehensive strategy to further the Foundation’s commitment to ending homelessness in Los Angeles County, pledging to grant up to $50 million over the next five years and to use the Foundation’s voice to push systems change for long-term solutions.

Bill_Pitkin_2011.jpgBill Pitkin oversees the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s domestic priority areas.  He also serves on the Funders Together Board.




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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