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

Reflecting on the April 22 Johnson v. Grants Pass Rally

Amanda Andere at the Johnson v Grants Pass Rally

On Monday, April 22, Funders Together staff traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Housing Not Handcuffs Rally, as the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments for the Johnson v. Grants Pass case. We joined around 600 advocates, which included national partners, organizers, and people with lived expertise to say: there are real solutions to addressing homelessness that don't include ticketing or arresting people who have no safe alternative place to sleep.

The April 22 rally doesn’t mark the end of this fight. There is more work to be done to ensure the safety of our unhoused neighbors. There are crucial engagement opportunities for philanthropy leading into a ruling in late June and what happens in the aftermath, including:

  • Providing the spaciousness to strategize by supporting convening opportunities for partners, people with lived experience, funder peers, and community leaders.
  • Considering flexible rapid response resources for housing justice narrative and messaging work that can be utilize before and after a decision.
  • Exploring how your institution, board, or trustees can utilize influence and connections in new and creative ways.

To learn more, visit our Johnson v Grants Pass Resource page.

Read Amanda's full remarks below or view the video. If you were unable to join us in Washington, D.C., watch this recap from our partners at Invisible People. You can also view the livestream of the rally in its entirety, thanks to our partners at the National Homelessness Law Center

Good morning! I come to you today not just as the CEO of Funders Together to End Homelessness, but also as an ordained ordained deacon at Martin Luther King Christian Church in Reston, Virginia. And many of my congregates, my fellow congregates, over 60 years ago were at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where they chanted "Until Freedom!" 

In my faith tradition we often talk about our joys and concerns. Today, I come to you with many concerns but also joy because I have hope that our collective concerns about homelessness can be solved when we work together.

I have a concern today folks because sometimes the people of God -- those who want to live out our faith in this world -- forget that means radical love and hospitality. Our neighbors without homes need a welcoming community that sees and honors their full humanity and I don’t know about you, but when I think of a loving God, I don’t think about ticketing or arresting folks that have no place to go.

I have a concern today folks that in so many of our communities the only safe place to sleep might profess the love of God but deny our neighbors shelter and housing because of who they love, because of what they’ve done in their past, or because they just need a little bit more time and support to work on the issues that I know many of us would have if we had to sleep outside night after night.

Do you have a concern? I have a concern because we know racism and oppression is baked into the fabric of our country, especially our housing systems, and it is the reason our housing and homelessness crisis impacts Black and Indigenous folks and people of color disproportionately.

And we ask why do we default to arresting and ticketing folks instead of focusing on housing and humanity? It’s because our national response to issues when it more often impacts more folks that look like me result in locking people up rather than giving them hope with something so basic as a home. And I have a concern about that.

FTEH staff Lauren Bennett, Amanda Andere, and Carey Cabrera rally outside the Supreme Court. 

But what brings me joy and hope? What gives me hope, friends, is that when we work together and when the rich resources of our country are coupled with love and care, we can focus on the actual solution to homelessness: housing.

I have hope because despite our country’s long history of racism, we can show the world what is possible when we recognize the problem, learn from our past mistakes, listen to the people most impacted, and start to repair the harm done.

And I have hope because the solutions to homelessness are possible when we welcome our neighbors inside. When we look around our community for spaces not being used and say “That could be someone’s home.”

I have hope because I know when we say to our community and government leaders that we want resources to focus on housing and giving people stability, we can show what is possible in these United States of America. We can show that joy does come in the morning when give our community something as an affordable, safe place to live and sleep. And what do we say like the people who marched on Washington? "Until freedom!"

Until freedom, because we know that freedom comes with housing justice.


Showing 1 reaction

  • Jack Zhang
    published this page in Blog 2024-04-26 15:07:43 -0400

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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