Last year, media outlets in San Francisco, Seattle, and Houston coordinated coverage to shine a light on homelessness in their communities. We applaud this effort and hope to see a focus on the real issue: access to safe and affordable housing.
In light of the coverage, we saw a need for shared messaging and examples around how to talk about homelessness. Below are suggested examples and key language that funders can use to frame homelessness issues and efforts from around the country.
Our key messages on ending and preventing homelessness are:
1. Solutions: Housing First models such as Rapid Re-Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing work:
- Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) has a long-term housing retention rate of up to 98% in one study.
- Rapid re-housing (RRH) helps people exit homelessness quickly and remain houses – various studies have found between 75 to 91% remain housed a year after being rapidly re-housed.
- One study found an average cost savings on emergency services (i.e. shelters) of $31,545 per person housed in a Housing First program over the course of two years.
2. Collaborations: Funders working together as a network is an effective and efficient way to enact change. This is working in communities such as Los Angeles and San Diego.
3. Partnership: Philanthropy, as well as the government, cannot do it alone. Private dollars can push and leverage public funding, and building a strong public-private partnership throughout the community can influence and effectively create systems change.
- In San Diego, the group of funders was able to leverage $240,000 into $10 million of public funding to support the operational expense of to create permanent supportive and convert existing transitional housing.
- In Houston, Funders Together members are part of The Way Home, a collaborative made up of private-public partnerships utilizing community-wide strategies to end and prevent homelessness. The 2016 Point-In-Time Count showed The Way Home continuing a five-year trend in reducing homelessness - a 57% decrease since 2011.
- In King County, The Raikes Foundation spearheaded a collaboration of private and public funders who are focused on preventing and ending youth homelessness. Through this collaboration, almost $5 million in private-public funds have been dedicated to the cause.
4. People first: At Funders Together, we stress the importance of being "people first", therefore we say "people/person/family/youth experiencing homelessness" instead of "the homeless" or someone being a "homeless person". We believe that experiencing homelessness should not define a person and encourage you to also put people first when talking about this topic.
We’ve created a resource page on the Funders Together website with resources that can be used to reinforce and support the key points. Be sure to check it out and let us know if you have additional resources from your foundation that we can add!
Stay connected! By following:
Below are sample tweets and Facebook posts that you can share on your social media pages. You can edit to fit your foundation’s voice and provide links to articles, case studies, research papers that support how housing-based solutions work to end homelessness.
Feel free to edit, and use links and hashtags of your own. Some tweets can also be expanded on to create a Facebook post as well, so feel free to crosspost!
In addition, the National Alliance to End Homelessness has provided a very helpful general social media guide with additional social media templates that include data points and resources.
How can you help end homelessness? Use your voice! Join us as we talk about solutions to end homelessness #HousingFirst
Access to safe and affordable housing can #endhomelessness. http://bit.ly/29179KZ
What can #endhomelessness? Here are (insert your handle) funded initiatives that work (insert link)
What can #endhomelessness? #HousingFirst! Resources on solutions: http://bit.ly/29179KZ
#Philanthropy working as a network can enact change to #endhomelessness http://bit.ly/29179KZ
#Philanthropy can play a key role in ending and preventing #homelessness http://bit.ly/29179KZ
#Funders can leverage public $ & provide flexible spending to move needle to end homelessness http://bit.ly/29179KZ
(City) has seen a decrease in homelessness thanks to evidence-based housing solutions (link to case study or local article)
Focus on solutions, not temporary fixes, to end homelessness. #HousingFirst! http://bit.ly/28Q2GL4
#Philanthropy is a verb. We must take action & come together to fund solutions that work to #endhomelessness!
Private-public partnerships can effectively create systems change to #endhomelessness http://bit.ly/29179KZ
Sample Facebook Posts
Everyone has a part to play in ending homelessness. It is critical we all come together on solutions that work, including the most direct way: access to safe and affordable housing. Housing First models, such as permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing, connect people to affordable and stable housing as quickly as possible. http://bit.ly/29179KZ
In 2015, nearly 565,000 people experienced homelessness. 31% of this population were unsheltered, living on the streets or in other places not suitable for dwelling. By funders coming together, we can create collaborations, both within philanthropy circles and through private-public partnerships that can propel solutions to prevent and homelessness, like permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing. http://bit.ly/29179KZ
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