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

Policy Framework Pillar: People Power

People Power Pillar

There is an inextricable connection between our housing justice aims, hopes for thriving communities, and the political power of the people who make up our democracy. While individual and communal rights and access to participate in our democracy have been intentionally stifled, we know that the work of protecting our democracy and facilitating civic engagement is critical to a future where all our neighbors can thrive.  

Racial capitalism, our current international economic structure leveraging racial exploitation to facilitate capital accumulation, has extracted energy and potential from communities of color for generations, carrying forth the legacy of slavery, erasure, and oppression. With an economy that extracts from our communities, many segments of our population are left without adequate access, energy, or resources to meaningfully participate in civic life, furthering their marginalization. This system has also created a society in which basic needs are often left unmet and are intentionally kept out of reach of many marginalized communities in order to uphold white supremacy that benefits a select few.  

Funders Together will advocate for reformation and transformation that honors and reinstates people power across the United States and its territories. Efforts to bolster our democracy are critical to our future, as are social innovations to restore individual freedom and dignity. We are committed to reimagining structures systems where individual and communities’ basic needs are not just met but allow for full agency and power over their lives. 

FTEH’s Priorities for People Power 

REFORM - Organizing to Protect Our Democracy and Build a Stable Future 

Since the start of the American colonial project, Indigenous and Black people have been systemically restricted from accessing the same rights and freedoms as white people. Over time, small groups have been granted the resources and access to build collective power to advocate for their rights, but the nation has never granted full freedom or access to historically marginalized communities, which includes people with disabilities; immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, and members of LBGTQIA+ communities. Voting rights, land ownership, freedom of movement, access to education, access to healthy food, and other critical human and civic rights have been withheld until they are advocated for and won through the criminal legal system and the court of public opinion.  

Communities must address gaps in resources and access to build power to meaningfully participate in informing public policy and other aspects of civic life that bolster our democracy. Funders Together will advocate for policies that explicitly put power into the hands of communities for full freedoms and rights for all, starting with those most harmed by ongoing oppression. We will support efforts and policies that create structures and processes for historically marginalized communities to have the resources to participate meaningfully in a democracy that is in desperate need of new leaders, ideas, and visions for the future. 


TRANSFORMATION – Reimagining Systems and Structures for Liberation, Dignity, and Choice 

Economic extraction has created a reality where civic engagement, participation in democracy, and other aspects of a thriving life are out of reach for many in our society who must spend their non-working hours filling care roles, recovering from difficult labor, or tending to health issues in the absence of adequate care systems. Our society has long failed to offer a foundation for all individuals and families to build safe, healthy, stable lives and pursue their dreams. To achieve a liberated society, we must create new systems that care for and meet people’s basic needs. Everyone should have the agency and opportunity to make real decisions over their lives, rather than have to decide between false choices.    

Funders Together will advocate for practices and policies that decommodify basic needs, such as housing, healthcare, and income opportunities while we work to transform entire systems. Tools like universal basic income, social housing, and universal healthcare must be coupled with larger structural changes, or we run the risk of creating additional racist welfare structures. Together, we can ensure that everyone’s basic needs are met in full so that people can lead vibrant lives and pursue their dreams.  


Funders Together Advocacy (including, but not limited to) 



  • Engaging in activities to protect and expand voters rights, particularly for people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity in communities of color, and others who may lack a stable physical address. 


  • Advocate and organize around robust federal, state, and local investment and policies to decommodify housing to be permanently affordable through social housing structures, particularly green social housing. (in accordance with Alliance for Housing Justice Social Housing Principles) 

Examples of Philanthropy’s Role in Supporting People Power Advocacy 



(Adapted from Voting Rights Under Fire Philanthropy’s Role in Protecting and Strengthening American Democracy):  

  • Invest in multi-year core support (during both election and non-election years) for on-the-ground organizations, particularly BIPOC led and centered, who are mobilizing around voting rights and protections for marginalized communities. 
  • Resource voting rights litigation strategies against efforts to disenfranchise and suppress voters, especially for under-resourced community-based organizations that are rooted in racial equity and justice. 
  • Abundantly support organizing efforts such as canvassing, rallies, on-site voter registration, and translation services in communities most impacted by suppression.  
  • Provide the ability to convene and share space for collaboration and movement-building across organizations working on voting rights and protections for people impacted by homelessness and/or housing insecurity with other cross-sector organizations. 
  • Provide long-term flexible rapid response resources for housing justice narrative and messaging work around social housing/decommodification that can be used for immediate needs and build towards affirmative visions. 
  • Lead and model the process both internally and externally of acknowledging that existing systems are broken and structurally racist. Push community stakeholders to prioritize rebuilding new resilient, anti-racist systems and fund capacity for people with lived expertise to be at the table to make decisions on the rebuilding. 


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