In September 2019, word of possible federal intervention on homelessness in California by the Administration circulated in the news. Then, on Monday, September 16th, the White House's Council of Economic Advisers released a troubling "State of Homelessness in America" report, which outlined actions the Administration may take as part of this intervention.
January 2017-Present: President Trump leads an administration focused on policy changes that create and perpetuate homelessness, to include requesting massive funding cuts to anti-poverty programs, eliminating the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, adding work requirements to Medicaid and food stamps, and expanding penalties for immigrants who use social benefit programs (just to name a few).
July 2019: In an interview with Tucker Carlson, President Trump commented on the homelessness crisis, expressing extreme concern (particularly at the visibility of homelessness). He largely blames liberals and sanctuary cities for the homelessness “phenomena that started two years ago.”
Mid-September 2019: White House officials toured public housing and encampments in California and news broke that the Trump administration was considering action on homelessness. Advocates are very concerned that impending action would further criminalize homelessness.
Late September 2019: The White House Council of Economic Advisors released a report: The State of Homelessness in America. The report misrepresents evidence and asserts that homelessness is caused by overregulation of housing markets, the “tolerability” and availability of shelters, and “individual characteristics” like mental illness and poverty.
November 2019: The Administration requested Matthew Doherty to stepped down as Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). During this, speculation started to circulate of an upcoming Executive Order from the Administration pointed towards using some sort of federal intervention to address homelessness targeted at California but having impact nationally.
December 2019: The Administration hired Robert Marbut as the new Executive Director of USICH. Marbut had a long history of convincing local governments that the solution to homelessness lies in large-scale shelters rather than in housing-based approaches causing concern for many in the homelessness sector.
Early January 2020: A letter from HUD Sec. Ben Carson to Los Angele Mayor Eric Garcetti circulated, confirming fears of the Administration’s attempt to strike a deal with the city to address the homelessness crisis. In it, it ties certain policy changes such as “empowering and utilizing law enforcement” and use of “federal land” for shelters to the federal funding the Administration would provide.
Mid-January 2020: Sources reveal that the Administration is backing away from an Executive Order in pursuit of targeting cities with a large unsheltered homelessness population and attempting to reach a “strings attached” deal with each in efforts to claim a political “win” in those communities and states.
February 2020: President Trump releases his proposed FY21 budget which include cuts to HUD by $8.6 billion or 15% below 2020 enacted levels. The proposal would eliminate vital housing programs, including the national Housing Trust Fund and all funding for public housing capital repairs. It would also eliminate the HOME Investments Partnership program and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), significantly decreasing much needed resources for affordable housing, community development, and solutions to homelessness.
March 2020: On March 4, 2020, Secretary Ben Carson testified before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) of the Committee on Appropriations In his testimony, he admitted he is actively trying to find ways around language built into FY20 budget that requires HUD to adhere to the FY18 NOFA. This caused the THUD Appropriations Committee to pay special attention to language that could allow for criminalization of homelessness in budget bills that go beyond FY20.
Funders Together to End Homelessness is working with our Board of Directors, national partners, and close advisers around the philanthropic response and possible long-term strategies.We are also working to provide resources, talking points, media opportunities, member and partners statements, and other related content for funders which will be compiled on this resource page. We encourage you to check back often or reach out to Funders Together if you would like assistance in crafting messaging for a statement of your own.
If your organization has a resource or statement you would like listed here, please contact Lauren Bennett.
Funders Together Resources
California Health Care Foundation: White House Puts National Spotlight on California Homelessness
Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland: “Housing is the Answer” – SOCF Statement on White House Homelessness Report
United Way of Greater Los Angeles: President Trump's Visit to LA
National Alliance to End Homelessness: Statement from the National Alliance to End Homelessness in Response to the White House Council of Economic Advisers’ Report on Homelessness
National Alliance to End Homelessness: White House Council of Economic Advisers' State of Homelessness in America Talking Points
National Health Care for the Homeless Council: An Open Letter to President Trump from National Homeless Advocates
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty:White House Policy Paper on Homelessness Misrepresents Evidence, Drives Wrong Conclusions
National Low Income Housing Coalition: Statement from NLIHC President & CEO Diane Yentel on The Council of Economic Advisers’ Report on Homelessness in America
National Low Income Housing Coalition: The Case for Housing First
National Low Income Housing Coalition: The Primary Causes and Solutions to Homelessness
Urban Institute: The Homelessness Blame Game
At Funders Together to End Homelessness, it is the mission of our members to end and prevent homelessness through systemic change and proven solutions, like housing.
In 2016, San Francisco media outlets coordinated their coverage to shine a light on homelessness in the city. We applaud this effort and hope to help shed a light, not only in San Francisco but nationally, on the real issue: access to safe and affordable housing.
Ideas to consider when thinking about homelessness across the country
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) assists people who experiencing homelessness chronically and may also suffer from illnesses, disabilities, mental health issues, or substance use disorders. It provides long-term rental assistance and supportive services.
Rapid re-housing assists a wide arrange of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The goal of this model is to help people obtain housing quickly and stay housed. It provides short-term rental assistance along with supportive services, such as rent and move-in assistance and case management.
- Permanent Supportive Housing has a long-term housing retention rate of up to 98% in one study.
- Rapid re-housing 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. (Source)
2. Collaborations: Funders working together as a network is an effective and efficient way to enact change.
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.
- The Funders Together to End Homelessness – Los Angeles chapter has more than thirty funder members who meet quarterly to learn about and discuss new solutions to homelessness in LA County. Many of these members are also part of Los Angeles County’s Home For Good Funders Collaborative, led by the local United Way. Between 2012 and 2015 the Funders Collaborative aligned over $650 million in public and philanthropic resources toward permanent solutions to homelessness in Los Angeles County.
- 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.
- In the counties surrounding Seattle, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works with government and nonprofit partners to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time. Since its conception in 2005, this partnership, All Home, has been instrumental in creating 8,337 units of permanent housing of which 85% of the people housed were stabilized there for almost two years.
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 "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.
Resources on solutions that work to end and prevent homelessness
- National Alliance to End Homelessness San Francisco Homeless Project
- Solutions that Work to End Homelessness
- Improving Housing Outcome with Rapid Re-Housing
- Housing Based Solutions Can End Homelessness
- Family Homelessness 2.0
- Shifting the Focus from Criminalization to Housing
- National Alliance to End Homelessness Housing First Fact Sheet
- Video: Ending Family Homelessness - From Family Homeless Programs to a Crisis Resolution System
- Core Components of Rapid Re-Housing
- Editorial: To End Homelessness, California Must Begin With Housing
Resources on general homelessness information
Funders can have a strong influence in the community. Use your voice and influence to spread key messages around ending homelessness through out the online community as well!
Our Messaging Guide for Funders provides 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.
We are happy to connect with you with experts that can help inform your articles who are all ready and willing to speak with you on any of the above thoughts. Our Director of Communication and Policy, Lauren Bennett, can be reached at 617-245-0314 x107, who can connect you with the following:
- Amanda Andere, Funders Together CEO
- Bill Pitkin, Independent Consultant
- Kollin Min, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Susan Thomas, Melville Charitable Trust
Funders Together Overview
Funders Together to End Homelessness is a national network of 200 foundations and United Ways dedicated to ending and preventing all forms of homelessness by supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions. Funders Together works to expand philanthropy’s impact and influence to advance the movement to prevent and end homelessness. Membership is open to all funders currently engaged or interested in funding homelessness or related areas. Funders Together, an approved 501(c)(3), is a virtually based in organization. For more information, visit www.FundersTogether.org.
If you have questions about a resource or where to find additional information, or would like to schedule time to talk with our CEO or a Funders Together member, please contact Lauren Bennett, Communications & Public Affairs Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.245.0314 x107. You may also reach out to our available experts directly at the numbers listed above.